Burgundy is one of the most important wine regions on the planet, with many of the world’s finest pinot noir and chardonnay wines calling the Côte d’Or home. It’s also one of the most complex and difficult to understand. For someone studying wine, who happens to have a wife who loves pinot noir, a visit to Burgundy is almost a requirement. And if it’s not, you can pretend it is. Sure, you can read about the region all your want, but until your feet are on the ground and you’re taking time to visit the various villages and appellations, there’s no real way to make sense of it.
The drive from Avignon north was reminiscent of our travels through Normandy a few weeks earlier, with the hillsides covered in various shades of brilliant, non-autumnal, green. These views got us smiling, as did our anticipation of the fabled Burgundian hospitality, and the simple, and simply delicious, cooking we knew we’d find there. But before we started tramping around the grape vines, we needed to settle into Beaune and enjoy some of its warmth.
Our first full day in Beaune we connected with Sherry Thevenot, a wine guide based in Dijon, for a visit to a few pinot noir producers in the Côte de Nuits north of town. We stopped in at Domaine Pierre Amiot et Fils, Domaine Gros Frere et Soeur, and Domaine Maurice Chapuis. Dom. Gros we knew of, having a single bottle of their prized Grand Cru in our cellar, but Amiot and Chapuis were wonderfully, surprisingly new to us. We also had a chance to run through, literally, the legendary Cistercian Abbey at Clos Vougeot, which sits at the heart of the Cote, and stop for some pictures at the vineyards of the famed Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. In addition to our visit to the friendly and generous winemakers, we were also introduced along the way to l’ouefs murrette, poached eggs in red wine sauce. It was a day we’ll remember for a very long time.
Next, a look at our day in the Cote de Beaune and the things we learned along the way.