Wine tasting and buying trip to Burgundy June 2015

I am fortunate that I live a few hours drive from the magnificent wine region of Burgundy. What follows is the details of a day trip to Burgundy to taste and buy wine and also to eat the excellent local food. Because I visited on a Saturday many of the producers cellars were closed and therefore I was reliant on retailers and négociant houses which have traditionally sold wine on behalf of wine makers in the region. I left Burgundy with a fine selection of both red and white wines ready to be enjoyed both immediately and in years to come. If you love your wine a visit to the Côte d’Or must be on your bucket list!

Arrival in Nuits-St-Georges

Arriving in Nuits-St Georges

After a speedy coffee and croissant to recharge after the trip I was keen to track the Le Cavon de Baccus wine shop on Rue Crébilllon in Nuits-St-Georges. Unfortunately being Saturday morning it was closed and so onwards to Beaune. Next time, since the choice of wines stocks looks excellent. http://www.cavon.com/

Le Cavon de Baccus wine shop on Rue Crébilllon

South to the Côte de Beaune

After less than a 10 minute trip down the D974, I arrived at the well known négociant Louis Jadot on 62 Route de Savigny in Beaune. An excellent visitor centre with parking is available offering tours, tastings and the opportunity to buy a good selection of wines.

Louis Henry Denis Jadot founded Maison Louis Jadot in 1859. But even before then, the story of Maison Jadot had its roots in the vineyards, with the Jadot family's purchase of the Clos des Ursules, a Beaune Premier Cru, in 1826. The négociant house, under the guidance of Louis Henry Denis Jadot, expanded rapidly, with a focus on the markets of northern Europe. His son, Louis Jean Baptiste, took over the management of the company in 1900, and expanded operations by buying numerous vineyards, including Corton Charlemagne and Chevalier Montrachet Les Demoiselles. In 1985, Madame Jadot decided to sell the company to the family of Rudy Kopf, Jadot's US importer.

All the wines made under the Maison Louis Jadot label are Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée wines from across the region. Maison Louis Jadot controls today 210 hectares scattered across Burgundy, from the Côte d'Or to the Mâconnais and down into Beaujolais.

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Louis Jadot on 62 Route de Savigny in Beaune

At 3PM on Mondays to Fridays, and 10.00AM on Saturday, a visit to the winemaking and maturation cellars is available followed by a tasting by prior reservation only. The tasting and sale room are open to all from 15.00 to 19.00 on weekdays, and 11.00 to 17.30 on Saturdays.

Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to visit the winery facilities but the sale room proved to be packed with good fines, some from older vintages. The shop manager spoke good English for those who require it and the manager was very enthuiastic about the wines as well as helpful.

There was an opportunity to buy some of the excellent recent Burgundy vintages including 2009 & 2010.

Wines bought:

  • Corton Pougets 2004 €62.4, Monthelie 2010 €22.4, Beaune 1er Cru Cent Vignes 2010 €32, Beaune 1er Cru Clos Des Couchereaux 2004 €32, Savigny 1er Cru Clos Des Guettes 2009 €28, Volnay 1er Cru Cos Des Chenes 2007 €44.80, One bottle given free of Chateau Des Jacques Moulin a vent 1998.

After Louis Jadot, a few minutes drive got me to Bouchard Père et Fils , a wine grower, négociant and producer based in Beaune on 15 Rue du Château. Again English is spoken here if you need it and another friendly reception here.

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The firm was established as a cloth merchant by Michel Bouchard in 1731, and in 1746 his son Joseph subsequently began selling wines and acquiring vineyards. In 1775, Joseph Bouchard acquired his first vineyards in Volnay in the famous “Les Caillerets” climat and started to develop the family’s vineyard holdings.

During the French Revolution, property belonging to the clergy and nobility was confiscated and put up for sale.  Joseph’s son, Antoine Philibert Joseph Bouchard, seized the opportunity to extend the family’s vineyard holdings in Beaune including the famous “Beaune Grèves Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus.”

Currently the firm owns 130 hectares (320 acres) of vineyards across Burgundy, of which 12 hectares (30 acres) are of Grand Cru classification and 74ha rated as Premier Cru. In 1995 the Bouchard family sold the firm to Joseph Henriot.

Bouchard Père et Fils, 15 Rue du Chateau

Wines bought:

  • Gevrey Chambertin Cazetier 2008 €75, Vosne Romanee Beau Monts 2008 €75, Beaune De Chateau Blanc 2010, 2011, 2012 €24.5

Lunch in Beaune and visit to the wine shops

After all that tasting in the morning it was time to find somewhere for a decent lunch and after parking just down the road from Bouchard Père et Fils, I wandered into Beaune and tapped into Tripadvisor to find somewhere half decent. Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised to find an excellent restaurant called La Ciboulette on 69 Rue de Lorraine (398 reviews on TA with 4.5 out of 5 rating). See review.

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The Fois Gras and Charolais Beef as well as the cheese selection were all superb, washed down with a nice Beaune Pinot. I'm sure the Dessert was great too, but by then the stomach was rather too full! The owner and waiting staff were also a pleasure and the place was full of French. If you want quality Burgundian fare you can't go too far wrong with the food and the service at a reasonable price on several set menus (from 19 euros to 38 - the 38 was the one I sampled). Plus its only a few minutes walk to the centre of Beaune for yet more wine tasting.

La Ciboulette on 69 Rue de Lorraine

Beaune Centre-Ville

A chance now to visit a few of the wine shops selling their wares off the main square in Beaune. Not the keenest prices but a good choice and I picked up a few bottles to take advantage.

I bought a nice selection of premium Pinot Noir's (with completely different styles Chambolle vs Gevrey vs Nuits-St. Georges) at Vins Perret and Vinoboam just off the main square in Beaune:

  • Domaine Des Monts Luisants Morey St. Denis Premier Cru 2009, Jospeh Drouhin Chambolle- Musigny Premier Cru 2011, Maison Louis Latour Gevrey-Chambertin 2010, Maison Roche de Bellene Nuits Saint Georges Les Vaucrains Premier Cru 2010

Off to Chassagne Montrachet

Having stocked up on the Burgundy reds it was time to head to Chassagne-Montrachet down the D973 (with a cut across to the D974 through the vineyards) which was again about 10 minutes from the centre of Beaune. The drive took me South West past Pommard, Volnay and Monthelie and then South through Meursault and then finally through Puligny-Montrachet. This allowed seeing the transition from the famous Pinot Noir reds of the Côte d'Or to the prized Chardonnay based whites.

 Views over Pommard

Views over Pommard

Puligny Montrachet

I visited the Le Caveau de Chassagne on 7 Rue Charles Paquelin in Chassagne-Montrachet which has an excellent selection of reds and whites but especially the latter at pretty good prices. Tasting and a restaurant were available but due to lack of time I was unable to try but the service was excellent and English was again spoken by the staff if needed. The shop is open 7 days a week apart from between 12.30 and 2pm.

Rather than buying the super premium whites from Puligny-Montrachet I opted for some better value options from the nearby Chassagne-Montrachet and Saint Aubin which I'm sure won't disappoint after a few years cellaring.

Wines bought:

  • Marc Colins  Et Fils, Saint Aubin La Chateniere 2013, Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils, Chassagne-Montrachet, 2013

Le Caveau de Chassagne, Chassagne-Montrachet

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Leaving Burgundy

So that was it for a whistle stop trip to Burgundy and what a gorgeous day it was too with plenty of sunshine, great wine and food and some lovely people to enhance the experience.  I hope you find the itinerary a useful starting point for your trip and obviously with more time you can visit individual producers, go further afield (e.g. Gevrey-Chambertin, Chablis, Beaujolais) and do more tastings. The you can easily spend a week in Burgundy taking in the cuisine (including the Dijon Mustard) and wines. Definitely a favourite place for me, the history relating to the grape is palpable. À bientôt, j'espère!

Back towards the A31