A Year in Burgundy, film maker David Kennard

Picture of David  at showing in Paris (excerpt from picture on website)

This Spring I read about a film called “A year in Burgundy” Caught  by curiousity and being a Burgundy addict, I tried to find out what this film was all about. I found a webpage www.ayearinburgundy.com  It turned out to be a  documentary by film maker David Kennard. He filmed during a year the cycle of wine growing and producing in one of my favorite regions. I discovered this filmer traveled and stayed a lot in Burgundy. Time, I thought, to invite him for my blogseries “gesprekken en gerechten” And time ofcourse to ask about the film, that was first shown in August this year during the International Pinot Noir festival.. Needless to say that David’s reward recipe willl be a Bourguignon one. A nice wine to pair, pinot noir cépage, will be part of this reward.
Who is David Kennard? Tell me some more
I am British by origin, but have lived in San Francisco for 25 years. I have been making films for more than 30 years – for the BBC, for PBS in the USA, and for worldwide cinema and TV screens. My company, InCA Productions, can be found at www.incafilms.com
How did your attraction for Burgundy  and its wines start?
I have made films on everything from classical music to astronomy – over 100 of them. I’d always wanted to make a serious film about wine-making, which featured the wine-maker as a real artist. Happily, I met Martine Saunier, a French woman who has imported great wines from Burgundy to the USA for 40 years, and she persuaded me that Burgundy was the place to film.
You undertook a great project by filming a year in the lives of winegrowers, bravo, what was the most remarkable moment?
The harvest has to be the most exciting moment in every wine-maker’s life: you have all the drama of the weather (will the summer storms ruin the grapes before they can be picked?) and all the joy of seeing great grapes come into your winery.
I know that wine making is very difficult and harsh. And you only can harvest once a year. I remember in 2008 that a total harvest was wasted by hail. Did the winemakers tell you about that?
Yes, they did. And there were hail storms in 2011 as well (though not as bad as those of 2012!). Many bad things can happen to grapes: frost, mildew, rot as well as hail. It’s a tense drama!
What is your favorite type of agriculture?
Anyone who produces artisanal food: families who really care for their products. You can taste it in the results!
Which plant do you like the most and which one you dislike? I am very curious about that
I love everything in the vegetable world: even the weirder vegetables. Everything except what the Americans call “squash”. But they must all be under-cooked – they must crunch in the mouth! And frankly, fruit is even better!
You traveled a lot through France, and I heared you were now doing a film on Champagne. What do you like about France?
I speak good French, having lived and studied there. Many Dutch, as well as English people have a second home in France. I think we appreciate the rhythms of life in the countryside there. And it’s very picturesque.
Are there differences between American and French winemakers?
You see the difference in the sense of history which French wine-makers have. In many cases, people have been making wine for almost 2000 years in French wine regions: the Romans started it. So you have long traditions and a great respect for ancient wisdom.
How was the film “A year in Burgundy” received on the International Pinot Noir Celebration?
Very well. We had many interesting reactions. Since then, it has been seen at private screenings in London, Paris and New York. It will be given a World Premiere at a California Film Festival in January 2013.
Will your film appear in Europe?
Yes, it will be distributed worldwide: first to cinema screens (it is 88 minutes long) and then on DVD and in a shorter version on television.
On food, which food do you like and which you would never eat?
I honestly like everything, apart from dog and cat, which I once tried in China. Snake, on the other hand, can be delicious. Generally, however, I avoid eating meat, except on special days.
Which wines do you like?
Pinot Noir has to be the subtlest grape. It is the hardest to grow and get “right”. It has such a complex
What else do you want to share?
Cooking, like wine-making, has to be a source of JOY! Too much snobbery, or too much complexity, ruins both of them.
Picture the vines of Mancey
The Recipe
David is a earthy man, does like to film the efforts of people making real things. He loves earnestt produce. In the case of his winefilm, it were the brave vignerons from Burgundy. Since David avoids eating meat, I will make for him a recipe containing chestnut mushrooms, girolles and cèpes with plums and balsamic vinager sauce. Next to it a tarte tatin of pumpkin, turnips and carrots. Done in the from of the known Burgundy rooftiles.The wine I present is the Bourgogne Cuvée spéciale made from pinot noir in our own village Mancey. A ruby red wine made by the vignerons in the South of Burgundy. Sun, soil and earthly tones caught in one wine.
Ingredients 4 persons:
2 big carrots
3 turnips
4 tbs brown sugar
1 lb/450 g pumpkin
6 sheets of puff pastry
3 tbs of butter
pepper and salt
8 oz./250 g chestnut mushrooms
10 oz /300 g girolles
10 oz/ 300 g cèpes
4 oz/ 125 g dried plums
one shallot
1/2 ts nutmeg
olive oil
2 cloves
2 tbs balsamic vinager
1/2 glass red wine
chopped parsley
Peel the pumpkin, the carrots and turnips and cut them in thin slices. Melt the butter in a pan and start melting the sugar. Add a dash of red wine vinager and leave to simmer until caramelized. Put the slices of pumpkin, carrot and turnip rooftile style in a greased baking tin, pour the caramel over the vegetables and add some thyme, pepper and salt. Cover the whole with puff pastry. Bake for 25 minutes in an oven on 180 ºC or 356 º F. When it is ready leave it to cool for a while and then turn over the tarte tatin on a dish.
Gently clean the fresh girolles, cèpes and mushrooms with some kitchen paper or a brush. make sure you remove all the sand. Soak the dried plums in some red wine. Preheat the butter and oil in a frying pan. Quickly fry the shallot and add the mushrooms. When these are browned a litlle add the nutmeg, cloves, pepper and salt. leave to simmer for a while. Get the mushrooms out and put them in a slightly warm oven. Add the balsamic vinager, red wine and the slices plums. leave this sauce to thicken. Serve the warm mushrooms on a plate together with a slice of the tart tatin and finish the dish with the sauce.


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