Tag Archives: grand cru

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!

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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 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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