Wheels, Wings & Wine Part Deux

After taking a flight in the auto-gyro, and with feet firmly back on the ground, it’s time for part 2 of Wheels Wings & Wine. 

Touching down on our runway in the middle of a clearing , we’ll settle in for our picnic meal.  You’ll be able to dine on local specialties as well as sample locally produced wines.

Le Domaine des Rutissons is a stone’s throw from our runway.  The region has a rich heritage of producing wines.  Government records dating back to 1780 make mention of wine production, at the zenith some 10,000 hl were produced annually.  With the onset of post WWII industrialization, the production was decimated. 

Meet Wilfrid (on right) and Laurent (left), proprietors of the Domaine des Rutissons, who are breathing new life into the once abandoned vineyards.

Wilfrid, a motorcycle and wine enthusiast had a chance meeting with Laurent and they formed a partnership based on respecting the terroir, and preserving the wine heritage of the area.  They adhere to creating wines using only Bio and natural methods.  Many of the varieties of grapes are extremely old and have been eclipsed by mass produced wines.  Among the varities they’ve resurrected are Etraire de la d’Huy, Verdesse, Mècle de Bourgoin, Persan, Onchette, Joubertin, Servanin…

In discussing wine, motorcycles, and other fine things in life, you’ll realize how passionate they are about their craft.  Not only are the wines a pleasure, but so is meeting them. 

Our generous hosts are quick to share stories, knowledge of wines, amongst other things, and plenty of good cheer.  Rather than attempt describing their art, it’s best done first person.  This writer simply lacks the vocabulary to do them and their craft justice.   

Enjoying the fruits of their labors, along with an array of wonderful locally produced meats, cheeses and other local dishes, you’ll have an unforgettable experience. 

Be sure to leave some room in your luggage to bring a bottle of wine back home to share with your friends and you’ll help a children’s charity.  (a portion of the proceeds of every bottle sold is donated to help needy children)

Wheels Wings & Wine is part of our select motorcycle tours in France, and can also be arranged as a pre or post-tour event.

For more information on the Domaine des Rutissons, visit their website:  http://domainedesrutissons.fr/


Wheels Wings & Wine Part 1-an afternoon of flying, eating & tasting


Wheels, Wings & Wine Part 1


For those of us wannabe-pilots, & amateur wine connoisseurs, we’ve got the next best thing.  An afternoon of private auto-gyro flights, picnic and wine tasting.  (Available as a pre-tour activity or during your tour.)

First, if you’re wondering what an auto-gyro is, as the name might suggest, it’s not some kind of sandwich served on pita bread.

An auto-gyro looks like a mini-helicopter.  The difference being the main rotor is not engine powered.  The main propeller provides forward thrust which in turn causes the main rotor to spin, thus generating lift.  Now that we’ve got our lesson in aeronautics out of the way…

If you like riding motorcycles, you’ll dig a ride in an auto-gyro.  You can feel the wind, acceleration on the open cockpit versions, just like on a bike.  You get similar sensations accelerating up & down, left and right.  In conjunction with Envie d’Ailes an expert auto-gyro training center featuring experienced pilots and instructors, and Domaine des Rutissons, we’ve put together a memorable activity for you.

Your flight will take you on a quick tour of the surroundings.  You’ll get to see cliffs, the Alps, maybe an old fort, forests, valleys.  The scenery is spectacular, so are the sensations.  You’ll even get to take a souvenir video home with you.

Now with your feet back on the ground, you’ll get the chance to sample some local wines and picnic lunch.  More on that in Part 2.

  Wheels Wings & Wine is a special event found on these motorcycle tours France.


What’s the deal with Tartiflette? 



Winter is here and so is Tartiflette season.  Although the recipe may differ from place to place, it consists potatoes, cheese, lardons (bacon), and maybe cream [which is the ingredient that is subject to dispute]

The majority of our intrepid guests sample the local specialties while on tour.  One dish that almost always gets top honors is Tartiflette.

Tartiflette is a hearty, stick to your ribs, comfort food, pure cheese goodness, food coma inducing dishes.  Its origins are in Savoy (if your geography is a little rusty, think mountains, skiing, Olympics, Alps, France) The Savoyards are said to have invented this little piece of culinary heaven.

Unlike widely exported dishes, French Onion Soup, French Fries (technically Belgian Fries), Beef Burgundy, Coq au Vin, you will have a tough time finding Tartiflette on menus outside of France, or the Alps for that matter.

We’re not sure as to why.  We surmise it might have to do something with the ingredients.  Now you’re probably saying I have potatoes, bacon and cheese so I’ve got what it takes to make Tartiflette.  Well, not so fast. 

Potatoes & bacon are readily available most anywhere, but the cheese thing is another story.  It’s not just any cheese.  It’s Reblochon.  It’s the cornerstone that keeps the whole thing together, otherwise it’s not really Tartiflette. 

Reblochon cheese comes from Savoie.  Supposedly the locals would make it for personal use as a way to dodge the tax collector.  The curious can read about its origins here on this gourmet site.  https://www.gourmet-food.com/french-cheese/reblochon-cheese-100457.aspx

Winter sports fans who flock to Alpine ski resorts ingest tons of Tartiflette each season to the delight of local restauranteurs.  At local Christmas markets you can find giant casseroles of Tartiflette with their cheesy incense mixing with the scent of mulled wine filling the air.  Frankly it’s hard to resist the Siren’s song of Tartiflette beckoning you to partake in its cheesy potato lardon goodness.

You will find Tartiflette on the menu in every French Alpine Ski resort.  That’s a sign that there’s something good about it.

Once our guests have had the chance to savor a real Tartiflette, the choruses of superlatives rings forth:  “the best…the most comforting….the tastiest…the cheesiest…”  it goes on and on .

Quite often, we’re asked for the recipe.  We issue the standard disclaimer, that if you don’t have access to Reblochon cheese, it won’t be the real deal.  We think the best way of enjoying Tartiflette is after a long day of motorcycle touring.  If you like motorcycle riding, join us for an Alps motorcycle tour and you can savor Tartiflette to your heart’s content.

This one dish wonder is a great way to recharge your batteries after conquering Alpine mountain passes.  Those who’ve had an authentic Tartiflette will agree.  If you’re looking for the recipe, here’s one take.

If you can’t get Reblochon in your area, consider a Brie, Camembert, maybe a Gruyere or just improvise.

Here’s a how to video on making Tartiflette.  If you cannot view the video, here is the url:  https://youtu.be/l3uc6xRDqas