Category Archives: Burgundy

Beaune France – wine and oh, so much more!

Beaune, (pronounced bone), is south of Dijon, Burgundy’s capital city, but it is considered the capital of burgundy wines. If you are interested in wine, food, France, culture and tradition, then consider the river cruise GetAway Travel has planned for November of 2022. It will be a great way to tour and understand all things wine since you will be accompanied by experts from Spring City Wine House. 

Sue – ready for wine in Beaune

 Beaune is renowned for wine, but also for food, the architectural excellence and cultural significance of Hospice du Beaune, museums, markets and a family run mustard mill. 

 First, let’s talk wine 

 The vineyards around Beaune produce some of the world’s best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Joseph Drouhin, Louis Jadot, Bouchard Pere et fils, are a few of the well-known vintners that allow tours. An optional city tour is included in your tour package and you can always consult your travel advisor at GetAway Travel for more specific information. Five of the greatest vineyards in the region are in the Beaune area and you can tour on foot, in vehicle, by horse and carriage, on a bike and even on a Segway if you like! 

The original ramparts built to protect Beaune still exist and you can stroll on the ramparts to some of the vineyards. 

There are independent wine shops and cellars throughout the town. 

Wine cellar in Beaune

 Hospice du Beaune 

 You can’t talk about Beaune and wine without mentioning the Hospice du Beaune. Home of an annual wine auction that draws celebrities and cash, the auction which began after 1457, still benefits area charities. 

Hospice du Beaune

Built in 1443, the Hospice du Beaune was established to care for the infirm who could not afford health care. In 1457 a local vineyard owner donated a bottle of wine to be sold to start a fund to care for the infirm in perpetuity. Now, Christies runs the auction each year. 

formerly hanging in the hospital, but now in the museum for Hospice du Beaune

But even if you aren’t attending the auction, the gothic hospital is considered one of the finest monuments in the country and a site that should not be missed. The complex with its bright, mosaic tiled roofs is a glorious sight in the sunlight. 

The pharmacy, chapel, wine cellars and, of course the vineyards, can be toured. More than 20 prestigious winemakers tend the vineyards around the Hospice du Beaune. 

 Food, shopping, museums and more 

 On Saturdays, Beaune is home to two huge markets. In the downtown area, you can find culinary wonders including meat, cheese and produce. The regional cheeses are fabulous, there’s Chaource, Espoisses and Delice de Pommard which is a light, creamy cheese rolled in mustard seeds. A second market a short walk from the town square specializes in antiques including books, glassware, vases and clothing. 

Market day in Beaune – Olives

You likely will experience some of the local cuisine from the river cruise chefs, perhaps Boeuf Bourguignon or Escargots a La Bourguignon. And no doubt the local mushrooms and truffles will find a place in one or two meals. 

Beaune market

In addition to the historical displays at the Hospice du Beaune, there is a wine museum in town, and the Dalineum is a museum dedicated to the works of Salvador Dali. The venerable Theatre de Verdure is now a spectacular public garden and sample a variety of mustards after taking a tour of the Fallot Mustard Mill. It offers an historic perspective on mustard production and the evolution of the condiment. 

Beaune market – a foodies delight

There are a number of public parks suitable for picnics and the Parc de La Bouzaire has its own lake and a small animal farm as well as a cafe. The Cote Plage beach features grassy access to the water and four natural pools. 

One of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture dating back to the 12th Century is the Basilica of Notre Dame in Beaune. Tour the old cloisters and St. Leger Chapel. There are stunning stained-glass windows and five intricate tapestries woven in the 1500s that chronicle the life of the Virgin Mary. 

Wine, food, architecture, culture and ambiance — Beaune has it all and you can experience it first-hand on the GetAway Travel river cruise planned for November 2022.  

As always, we can be reached at:  (262) 538-2140

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Wine Tasting in Burgundy – Recycled

This post is for all of you, but especially our friend Jon, who wanted to locate all of the original posts we made on our custom tour through Burgundy in 2013.

Recycling sometimes brings to made taking waste glass, paper or plastic and reprocessing the material so it can be used again.  In our case, recycling means taking some of our most popular blog posts from 2013 and re-posting them.

We hope you enjoy.  Oh wait…  Everything can’t be just reposted material – here is a newly posted video from the trip, wherein our expert guide explains the wine appellations of Burgundy.  It’s a little dark, as we were in the wine cellar at the time, but the explanation of Burgundian wine appellations is well worth your viewing time.

Wine Tasting in Burgundy Part 1 – Moissent-Bonnard

Wine Tasting in Burgundy Part 2 – Comte Senard

Wine Tasting in Burgundy Part 3 – Pierre Andre

WIne Tasting in Burgundy – The Finale!

Wine tasting in Burgundy – the finale!

We’ve titled this recent series of blogs “Wine tasting in Burgundy…” – but perhaps we could be a bit more specific about where we went.   Here’s an excellent map to the Burgundy wine areas on Wikipedia.

Most of our Burgundy tasting was in the region of Côte d’Or, which is basically an area encompassed by a limestone escarpment (think steep slope).  Grapes grown up the slope tend to make more distinctive and flavorful wines, while grapes grown towards the base and closer to the towns are more affordable.  The northern half of Côte d’Or , which is almost exclusively red wine is called Côte de Nuits.  We actually based ourselves out of Beaune, an excellent place to stay, and which is coincidentally in the heart of Côte de Beaune.

In the other posts about our experience we made mention of Burgundy wine classifications, such as Grand Cru and Premier Cru.  One good question was how can I tell what classification my wine is when looking at the bottle?  If a wine is Grand Cru, it will list the name of the vineyard and the term Grand Cru – no village name.  If the wine is Premier Cru it will list the name of the village of origin, the term Premier Cru (usually shown as “1er Cru”  same as in english we’d show 1st Cru, 1er = 1st) and usually a vineyard name.  Village appellation wines will show the name of the village (example: Pommard) and sometimes the vineyard. Interestingly, to make their wines sound a bit more prestigious some villages changed their names by appending a name of a prestigious vineyard to the village name.  A great example of this happened in March of 1862 when the village of Aloxe changed its name to Aloxe-Corton.  Corton is the Grand Cru vineyard located on a hill near the village.  They apparently knew what they were doing as the Corton appellation, which is the only Grand Cru for red wine within Côte de Beaune, was officially created 75 years later in 1937.

While we certainly appreciate all of the history and effort that goes into letting us know what wine we are getting, it basically does all come down to taste.  If you like it and it tastes good to you, it’s a good wine.  You have to let your senses be the guide, as nobody else can really tell you what tastes good to you.  Keep in mind though, that we do taste with all our senses, what it looks like, smells like, feels like, etc.  Where you taste can also be a big factor.  Are you at home, at a restaurant, at a wine bar, or are you in an amazing cellar under a chateau in France?  A lot more goes into our perception about what is a good wine beyond the grapes themselves just dancing across our tongues!

Our group made 2 stops in Côte de Nuits on the final day of this tour.  Pierre Laforest and Domaine Quivy.  We had an awesome time and loved both places.  It was soon time to push on though as the entire group had to get to Lyon to board a river boat .  We were running a bit late after our last tasting so we had a bit of a mad frenzy to get our luggage on the bus and then we made a frantic dash to catch our train.

While we were on time for the train, it was not.  The train was about an hour late.  So even though we rushed, we were there in plenty of time for our transfer to Lyon, where we all got on board the River Royale for a 7 night cruise!    Coming soon – blogs on our awesome cruise experience!

9-Burgundy France Wine Tour 7-28-2013 7-14-29 AM

Check the monitor – the train is “retard”. French for you’re going to be waiting a while.

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Wine Tasting in Burgundy part 3 – Pierre Andre

Our group of wine travelers are making their third and final stop of the day at Domaine Pierre André in Aloxe Corton.

One of the great things about our group is the range of winology (is that a word?  If not it should be) among the members.  We have some relative wine novices, some dabblers, some serious wine lovers and a sommelier in our ranks.  You certainly don’t have to be a wine snob to love this type of travel – it’s all about getting close to the land, the products of it and the people who make it happen. Everyone had an absolutely fantastic time and everyone learned something new and gained a deeper appreciation of Burgundian wines.

In vino veritas” is an ancient latin phrase that translates as “in wine there is the truth”. Most likely it originally referred to that after drinking a lot of wine, a mans truth will flow from his mouth as his tongue loosens up.  But maybe we can look for a deeper meaning now.  Grape growers are really farmers.  Their farm “produce” gently speaks the truth about the land, the weather, the history, and the fruits of their labors.  In our experience it is more rewarding to see and feel the veritas of their labors at the location it is actually produced.  We travel to open our hearts and our eyes to learn more about the world.  And in learning more about the world we learn more truths about ourselves as well.  And as wine is one of so many of God’s wonderful creations we can say that in wine there definitely is truth.

At Pierre André, the glazed tile roof of the Chateau is easily one of the first things you notice when you pull into the parking area.  It is also one of the first things you notice when you see a bottle of their wine.  We held our tasting in the Chateau and then visited the wine cellars before heading back to Beaune for the night to rest up as we had 2 more tastings in Burgundy the next day!

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Wine Tasting in Burgundy part 2 – Comte Senard

Don’t expect part 2 to follow part 1 so quickly ever again!

But nonetheless here it is!  (Part 3 will be tomorrow at the earliest, and next month or so at the latest…)

Our group had a great time at Moissenet-Benard, but some pieces were missing.  The missing pieces were the 6 folks who arrived in Beaune later in the morning so could not make the Moissenet journey!  But being good friends we left Pommard and went back to the hotel in Beaune to pick them up before the next tasting and lunch.

For this event we stopped at Domain Comte Senard in Aloxe Corton.

From the Domaine’s web site regarding the village of Aloxe Corton:  “The Burgundy village of Aloxe Corton (692 acres) lies midway between the côte de Beaune and côte de Nuits. It is the only appellation which has Grands Crus in both red and white : 250 acres of red Corton, 121 acres of Corton Charlemagne (white), 94 acres of Aloxe Corton 1er Cru and 237 acres of Aloxe Corton village. The combination of clay and marly limestone soil with the Pinot Noir vine provides tannic and powerful red wines whose finesse develops well over the years. The chardonnay grape brings us the world-reputed famous Corton Charlemagne and white Corton with its beautiful golden tint and unique minerality.”

Key words for us were Grand Crus in both red and white!

What’s all the fuss about Grand Cru?  This is a French regional wine classification that designates a vineyard historically known for its favorable reputation in producing great wine.  While official wine classification began in the 1850s in Bordeaux, The designations of Grand and Premier Cru in Burgundy were developed later in the 1930s.  But what does it mean to us?  It means that in general the best of the best is labelled as Grand Cru.  But as always you should follow your own senses as to what is best to you.

Our amazing lunch included several Grand Cru wines followed by a stroll into the vineyard and a visit to the wine cellars.

Perhaps you recognize the little rat in the pictures below.  This little fellow was renamed “Jean-luc” for our trip and you can see a lot more of his French travels at the Vino Etc Facebook page.  Not all of his pictures are necessarily shown there as some things that happen in France should probably stay in France!  Just saying.

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Wine tasting in Burgundy part 1 – Moissenet-Bonnard

We recently had the privilege to take a group of friends on a trip to the French regions of Burgundy & Provence.  First we all met up in the gorgeous town of Beaune and began our adventures by taking a custom tour through Burgundy Côte d’Or, home of some of the greatest names of Burgundy wine and where all the Grand Crus vineyards are located.  Burgundy is by far one of the most terroir conscious areas in France.

From our friends at Wikipedia “The wine-growing part of this area in the heart of Burgundy is just 40 kilometres (25 mi) long, and in most places less than 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) wide. The area is made up of tiny villages surrounded by a combination of flat and sloped vineyards on the eastern side of a hilly region, providing some rain and weather shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. The best wines – from Grand Cru vineyards – of this region are usually grown from the middle and higher part of the slopes, where the vineyards have the most exposure to sunshine and the best drainage, while the Premier Cru come from a little less favourably exposed slopes. The relatively ordinary “Village” wines are produced from the flat territory nearer the villages. The Côte de Nuits contains 24 out of the 25 red Grand Cru appellations in Burgundy, while all of the region’s white Grand Cru wines are in the Côte de Beaune. This is explained by the presence of different soils, which favour Pinot noir and Chardonnay, respectively. ”

You’re in Burgundy, you will drink either Pinot Noir or Chardonnay – that’s pretty much it, cause really what else do you need?  Not a fan of either of these grapes?  Well then you probably haven’t had the Premier and Grand Crus.  These are some of the most outstanding wines on the planet!

Still not convinced?  Well these guys in Burgundy are really serious about their wines – so much so that they have an order of about 12,000 knights worldwide that are devoted to it.

Our lucky group’s first stop in Burgundy was on the Routes des Grands Crus in the well-known town of Pommard at the cellars of Moissenet-Bonnard.

WIth 8 generations of grape growing and wine making, you could taste the passion and feel the enthusiasm that goes into every bottle they produce.

The favorite for our group was the Pommard Premier Cru “Les Epenots” 2007.  You should go get some to enjoy with our next posting!

Look good?  Well we can do the same thing for your group as well!

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