Saturday, 7 February 2015

Saint-Vincent Tournante 2015

Saint-Vincent is the patron saint of wine growers, and not, strangely enough, of painters and plastic surgeons.

Folding flowers - Saint-Vincent 2013 Cortevaix
And since Burgundy appointed itself as the world’s most important wine region, the name day of this Saint, 22 January, is celebrated with gusto throughout the region.
The word “Tournante” indicates that the place of action changes every year. The emphasis is normally on places in the more prestigious wine areas such as the Côte d’Or (21), but also places in department 71 like Mâcon (2009) and Mercurey (2018) did or will host this big event in the past or in the future. However, on a smaller scale there are also Saint-Vincent Tournantes. In the South-Châlonnais for example, this festival is celebrated at the end of January.

Decorations - Saint Vincent 2011 Saint-Ythaire
Each year a different village stages the Festival, and the sequence of events is identical every year. This year it was Savigny-sur-Grosne’s turn. Months in advance the villagers, assisted by inhabitants of other wine villages in the area, keep themselves occupied with preparing the decorations of their village. After Christmas the Christmas trees are not burnt, but they are decorated with paper flowers to line the streets of the village at the end of January. Mannequins are dressed up in farmers clothing depicting the wine grower’s activities, in a word, at the end of the month the village has changed beyond recognition.

Parade - Saint-Vincent 2014 Malay
On the day itself the statues of Saint-Vincent are carried to the church by members of the various brotherhoods, where a church service takes place, inaugurated by the incomprehensible noise produced by the local hunter’s guild on their horns. After the service a wreath is laid at the war monument and a glass of wine is served as a token of appreciation for those who braved the cold, the horn blowing session and the service.

Church service - Saint-Vincent 2011 Saint-Ythaire
The highlight of the day however is the lunch where everybody (at a price) can take part in. the lunch is served in the Salle Polyvalente in Saint-Gengoux-le-National. This lunch is not your average Christmas lunch; it is really something special, ad big scale as well. A caterer from Montceau-les-Mines prepares an excellent 6-course meal for several hundreds, the local wine farmers provide different wines with each course and in between those who made themselves useful in the wine trade are honoured and / or admitted to the overall brotherhood of wine makers. The meal starts at 14h30, and coffee is served at around 18h30.

Decorations - Saint-Vincent 2012 Bissy-sous-Uxelles
What happens afterwards is too painful to describe. The band that provides the dance “music” is even worse than the horn blowers. And ever since we managed to sit out 15 minutes of this racket during our first Saint-Vincent, at following occasions we did not take the risk anymore; we flee the premises immediately after we have downed our coffee. At home we then put on some music that deserves that name.

Lunch - Saint-Vincent 2015 Savigny-sur-Grosne
However, despite this painful ending of the day each year again we are looking out for the next Saint-Vincent Tournante.

The link to the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. Has anyone thought of changing that name, "tournante?" It has some unpleasant connotations. Probably in the politically correct USA that would happen, but not in traditional France! (I'm not making any judgments here, I was just very surprised when I saw the name of this event!)