A story of wine and wanderlust: the ultimate Burgundy guide – chapter 11 – final
From my very first visit, I knew I had started a real love affair with Burgundy – and there was no limit to my curiosity. The landscapes were stunning, the people were welcoming, and the wines were nothing less than first class. But, it wasn’t as much about the destination as it was about the journey…
Gerry’s tips… from personal experience – Burgundy
Where to taste and buy in Burgundy: top tips
Craig and I wanted to fast track Chris and Jill’s appreciation of the wines of Burgundy.
So, we took them to a structured lunch at La Maison d’Olivier Leflaive to give them a grasp of Village, Premier Cru, and Grand Cru Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. We also took them to several wine tastings, including my personal favourite; Château Corton-André.
One of the best experiences came from Craig, who discovered a small producer in Saint-Romain. There are many small wine-making villages in the Côte de Beaune which receive very little attention. Craig had found a little gem at Mantenot-Mallard. It was a 14th generation domaine with no website, but plenty of interesting wines.
One major lesson from our visit was that a small winery may be situated in a less well-known area, but they will often own vineyards in famous areas. Bernard Martenot makes excellent Villages Chardonnays from Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet – each nicely priced at €21.
Madame Martenot also poured us two more bargains; the Sous le Château Chardonnay 2015 was €15 and the Saint-Romain Rouge was a fresh, fruity Pinot Noir at €13. We bought plenty of wine, including a very smart Beaune Premier Cru for €27.
Burgundy wine festivals
Every village in Burgundy has a local wine festival – and we were lucky to be there for the Elégance des Volnay. Basically, the idea is that you pay €8 for a glass and are invited to visit the dozen or so producers who offer tastings.
The locals spoke limited English, but the quality of the wines was truly excellent. The vignerons made an excellent effort to show their best wines – and there were a few pleasant surprises too.
We found that Albert Boillot made a Bourgogne, but from vines he owned in Volnay. This was a recurring lesson because a wine simply labelled ‘Bourgogne’ doesn’t necessarily mean that the grapes are low quality and sourced from all over Burgundy. Albert’s wine was excellent and a bargain at only €7.50.
We were even lucky enough to visit Domaine Parigot in Meloisey. Nothing beats getting an introduction to a vigneron! Our host prepared a tasting of 12 wines from the year 2015. He spoke no English, but was most patient of me as the interpreter – and everyone enjoyed themselves enormously.
French supermarket steals: watch out for these!
Finally, I always make sure to visit French supermarkets, such as the Casino hypermarket in Beaune. After all, there’s no rule saying you must drink only Burgundy when in Burgundy. There are plenty of other choices as well!
French wines costing 40 to 80 dollars in Australia can be picked up for the equivalent of 10 to 20 dollars in French supermarkets. I always look out for:
- Chinon Cabernet Franc; Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley
- Gewürztraminer; Pinot Blanc Grand Cru Riesling from Alsace
- Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône Valley
- Sweet wines Muscat de Beaumes deVenise and Monbazillac
I’ve learnt so much on my various trips to Burgundy; not just about the wines, or even the place itself, but about myself and the person I’ve become.
It’s been a journey of self-discovery and risk-taking, and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Thanks for joining us for the final instalment of Gerry’s Burgundy guide! When are you going to Burgundy?
‘The Ultimate solo Guide to Burgundy’ with Gerry Robinson.
And if your friends are heading to Burgundy send them a link to Chapter 1 – they’ll love it!
Chapter 1: ‘The Ultimate solo Guide to Burgundy’ with Gerry Robinson.
AND here is the link to the Entire Series: Guide to Burgundy.
Which are your favourite French wines? Which do you like to pick up in French supermarkets? We’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations in the comments box below.Image credits
1. & 2. Gerry Robinson
3. Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, by Megan Cole via Flickr
4. Volnay wine, by Claaspb via Wikipedia
5. Burgundy, France, by Megan Cole via Flickr