It is undeniable that wine is a large part of French culture, and visiting France without tasting a few different vinos would be like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. For travellers keen to take their taste buds on a wine-tasting adventure, Burgundy France is a great place to start. The region consists of peaceful canals, well-tended vineyards, and boasts rural beauty and charm. Here’s all you need to know about exploring wine routes in Burgundy.
Exploring wine routes in Burgundy:
Located in east-central France, the French Wine region of Burgundy may be small in size but its influence is in the world of vino is tremendous. It is home to some of the most expensive wines in the known universe, but there are tasty affordable wines too. The most famous wines produced in Burgundy, commonly referred to as “Burgundies”, are dry red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes and white wines made from Chardonnay grapes.
Burgundy has a continental climate characterized by cold winters and toasty warm summers. The weather can be unpredictable with rain, hail, and frost all possible around harvest time. Because of this, vintages from Burgundy vary considerably, meaning wine connoisseurs are in for a treat with each new vintage.
The Burgundy Discovery Wine Tour
Established in 2003, the Burgundy Discovery Wine Tour is a specialist Burgundy wine tour business based from Beaune, Côte d’Or, in the heart of the Burgundy vineyards. The tour is owned and operated by husband and wife, Robert and Joy Pygott, who provide small group wine tasting tours in English.
During the Burgundy Discovery Wine Tour, tasters are taken to carefully selected wine cellars and vineyards in Burgundy which are not always accessible to the public. There are options to add hands–on cooking classes into the tour, or swap the vehicle transportation for bicycles.
Daily tours through the vineyards
Tours start at $308 USD per person for a full-day escorted tour group of up to eight people. The price includes the tour, tasting, and lunch. Day tours are run any day of the week, with Sundays and French Public Holidays being an exception. All tours include pick up and return to accommodation in or near Beaune, or from Beaune railway station.
A typical day begins at 9am and ends around 4.30pm. Tasters are driven in a Land Rover Discovery into the vineyards through the vast Burgundy countryside and old villages. Tour-goers learn the basics of Burgundy – its wine growing areas, grape varieties, and the appellation system, as well as get to taste some of the best wines Burgundy has to offer.
Tours include taking a closer look at the vines to appreciate ‘terroir’ of the region. The guides answer any burning questions tasters have about Burgundy and its wines. During the tour tasters have the opportunity to visit ancient cellars and working wineries to see and learn about the winemaking process and what is happening in the vineyards at the time of visiting.
A typical day consists of visiting different vineyards and three top quality wineries, tasting between 15 to 20 wines. Wine variations on the menu range from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Aligoté from the bottle or the barrel across a range of vintages where possible.
To the winemakers, Burgundy is not only the original home of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, but it is also home to the ‘terroir’ (tare-wah) that best expresses their character – elegant, aromatic, complex, and highly enjoyable. Terroir is the symbiosis of grape, soil, climate, vineyard placement, and the human touch, all rolled into one.
Tasters will learn about the Appellation d’Origine Controlée structure, the grape varieties, and the wine making traditions of the region. In collaboration with carefully selected local restaurants renowned for their typical Burgundian cuisine, tasters will also get to indulge in a three course lunch with matched wine.
Where the tour goes
Tours focus upon the vineyards of Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits & Côte Chalonnaise. These places contain world-famous villages such as Meursault, Santenay, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Savigny-Les-Beaune, Nuits St Georges, Vosne Romanée, Gevrey Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, Mercurey, Givry and Rully.
Burgundy Discovery can tailor their wine tours to suit the needs and wants of the travellers. Larger group tour events for up to 50 people are also available. Visit www.burgundydiscovery.com to find out more. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: +33 (0) 6 38 53 15 27. Address: Rue des Forges, 21350 St Thibault, France.