Leaving Dijon we headed towards Beaune, driving through the Côte d’Or and passing highly prized and prestigious names in the Bourgogne wine world. Not much has changed in these villages since the Middle Ages, many of the vineyards still being run by the people who own them, being passed down for generations through the family line. The two grape varieties that grow here are native to the area, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Our first stop was Gevrey-Chambertin, in the heart of the Burgundy vineyards. We checked into the Hotel La Rôtisserie du Chambertin, an 18th century building that has undergone 2 years of extensive renovation. The hotel’s Bistrot Lucien serves the region’s gastronomical delights and after a delicious dinner accompanied by a good Bourgogne, we strolled around the village watching the sunset over the vineyards, as it has done for over a thousand years.
Our stops on the Grands Cru trail were at Château de Corton André, Pommard, Meursault, Rochepot, Vosne-Romanée, Chassagne-Montrachet and the Château du Clos de Vougeot. The Château du Clos de Vougeot was originally a 12th century vineyard belonging to the monks at the l’abbaye de Cîteaux, and in the 16th century a Renaissance style chateau was built onto the original building. Taken over in 1945 by The Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, who made it the seat of their order, devoted exclusively to promoting Burgundy wine and gastronomy.
The Château de la Rochepot has been standing majestically on a rocky peak since the 13th century, when it was home to Régnier and Philippe Pot, Counsellors to the powerful Dukes of Burgundy. The Chateau was destroyed during the French Revolution and was rebuilt and restored completely from ruins in the 19th Century by Colonel Sadi Carnot.
The 18th Century Château de Pommard has 20 hectares of vine, owned today by an American, a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur who bought it from Maurice Giraud last year. Only the outer spaces, the Wine museum with an 18th Century wine press and the large kitchen is open for viewing, rather disappointing that no other rooms in the Château was able to be viewed considering that they charged a rather high entrance fee. There is an Art Gallery with an exhibition by photographer Peter Lippmann. The courtyard has two scupltures by Dali. The entrance fee does come with a tasting, the wine a blend of the 5 main terroirs. There is a pretty little French garden across from the Chateau.
We had lunch at a cafe in Meursault, a sumptuous salad accompanied by a local white, the white wines considered to be the best in the world along with Chassagne-Montrachet. Vosne-Romanée was the next village we stopped at. Red wine from this area is one of the most prized in the world.
There was so much to experience, too much to tell, and too many pictures to fit into one blog post. I have tried to condense it as much as possible and leave you with some photos that hopefully will try to capture some of the magic of this amazing Burgundy journey.