06 June 2011

jura bike trip: chez bindernagel: les jardins sur glantine

While tooling around the Jura on our bikes, we stayed at a new chambre d'hôte in Poligny called Les Jardins Sur Glantine, run by vigneron Ludwig Bindernagel's wife Nathalie. Nothing marks the place from the outside, except a barrel during business hours signifying the availability of wine. So when we showed up the first evening at sunset, sweat-drenched and wobbly from fatigue, nothing prepared us for the gorgeous mise-en-scène that awaited us behind a dreamy white curtain at the end of the entrance corridor.

There's a view out over Nathalie's vegetable garden in the foreground; in the background are the dun rooftops of lower-lying houses. On a table in the expansive central courtyard sat a bottle of Ludwig's own crême de cassis, some sparkling wine, and some homemade elderflower syrup. After a quick tour of the chambre d'hôte's two suites and its outdoor kitchen facilities (for use during harvest time, when they lodge 25 good friends), we all shared a long apéro, and Ludwig and Nathalie told us a bit about the operation they've established.

Until recently it was a run-down former hotel. The previous owners sought to move to a smaller, more manageable space, but had sentimentally refused to sell it to a number of interested buyers, before deeming Ludwig and Nathalie acceptable new owners. Ludwig is a former architect, but he says his goal with the Jardins Sur Glantine space extends only to restoration; Nathalie is in charge of all decoration. Les Jardins Sur Glantine comprises the couple's home, on one unfinished floor, two private suites on the ground floor, along with an ourdoor kitchen, a dining communal dining room, a courtyard, and, of course, Ludwig's cave, which as yet contains only a portion of his winemaking activity, the rest being located in Arlay.

I hadn't expected such an immaculately tasteful place.* The last chambre d'hôte I'd visited, near Bourgeuil in the Loire, had been charming only in a semi-ironic, no-hot water, overrun by cute animals kind of way. There had been framed proverbs on the walls. Whereas Ludwig and Nathalie's operation at times feels closer to something out of a Monocle feature.

As my friends and I shared a unlabeled bottle of Ludwig's incisive 2009 Poulsard after dinner in our suite that evening, we began perusing a small display of magazines, only to discover in them that Nathalie had been a top-ten finalist on France's Master Chef TV program. (Apparently she is a wizard with mayonaisse.)

None of us mentioned anything the next day at breakfast, but we all exchanged looks. Because it was awesome. Cue David Lebovitz-style photo series of gorgeous breakfast food and dairy products (only less gorgeous, because I take all my photos with an iPhone, as a matter of principle**):

Ludwig made some stunning fresh bread in the morning. I note, as an aside, that legendary Arbois vigneron Pierre Overnoy is also a bread enthusiast. I expect it's all part of a wider occupational interest in yeast. 

Homemade fromage blanc

Homemade rose jelly and lemon curd. 

Homemade madeleines. I ate like forty of them, a truly gluttonous quantity.

Anyway. This has been a brief note on the chambre d'hôte. It will be obvious from the way I write that I'm not a connoisseur of French country lodging. But I can very highly recommend Ludwig and Nathalie's hospitality to anyone with a jones for the Jura. Additionally the village of Poligny itself is bustling, for a town of its size, and Ludwig, a former architect and habitual singer, told us there are several churches in the area that possess appeal for fans of either field.

Comté and saucisson aux noix, which latter I'd never encountered before. Nuts embedded in meat!

* The only exception being perhaps the choice of Voss water. There's nothing wrong with the taste. But everytime I encountered one of the bottles it was like an incongruous blast of trance music in my ear, like I'd opened the door onto a nightclub in Nice.

** Or anxiety. I just don't like to lug cameras around, or to disrupt meals with cameras, or to get food on cameras, etc. Additionally, better quality photos would necessitate an upgrade to the overall design of this blog, which I've intentionally kept on the sloppy side of effortless. 

Les Jardins Sur Glantine
Hôtel Geurrillot
30, Grand rue
Tél : +33 3 63 86 50 78

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