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01 Ain, Rhone-Alpes – wine and chicken!

In the east of France and to the east of Burgundy adjacent to Switzerland, the Ain is probably a little overlooked by most visitors.

With Bourg-en-Bresse as its principal town it is a region of gentle hills and river valleys – which is one of the hidden parts of France.

The departement includes Bugey and the wines of Bugey. These are VDQS wines (Vins Délimité de Qualité Superieure) – a classification between full Appellation Controllee and VIns de Pays. As such there are restrictions on grape varieties used and planting and harvesting techniques – and the grapes must be grown in the designated region. White wines from Chardonnay, Roussette; Rosé wines from Gamay and Poulsard; Reds from Gamay, Pinot and Mondeuse; and sparkling wines from Chardonnay. Seldom seen in the UK.
For an opportunity to taste some of these wines there is an open tasting in Lyon from 25-26 January 2008 – click here for more details
For more on the wines of Bugey see www.vinsdubugey.net
One of the highlights of the year is the celebration of the famous yellow corn-fed chickens from Bourg-en-Bresse – the Glorieuses de Bresse held every December shortly before Christmas (for 2008 it runs from 16-21 December 2008 – in the form of a market and other festivities held in Bourg-en-Bresse, Louhans, Pont de Vaux and Montrevel-en-Bresse – see www.glorieusesdebresse.com
Logo of the Ain departement, France
More info – see the Ain Tourism Office

For an English run B&B in the region with a knowledgeable host and guide see B&B Burgundy