Burgundy, known for its legendary wines, is a must-visit location for everyone who values the finer points of the winemaker’s craft. In this region, you may tour some of the most prominent and historic vineyards in the world and sample wines that are frequently regarded as the best that France has to offer. Burgundy, one of the wealthiest regions of France for centuries, offers a wealth of history and culture in addition to stunning landscapes that provide the adventurous traveler with a multitude of things to do, even if it’s simply a walk to take in the view. If you want to experience the best wine-tasting tours to Burgundy you may consider reading through this self-guided wine tour.
From Joigny in Yonne to Mâcon in Saône et Loire, Burgundy’s wine-producing region spans over 300 kilometers. All along the Côte de Beaune are Grands Crus, Premiers Crus, and famous appellations. Geographically, the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune dominates the vineyards of this region, which stretch from Ladoix-Serrigny to Maranges from north to south. Corton-Charlemagne, Montrachet, and Meursault are three of the best white wines produced in the Côte de Beaune. Corton, Pommard, and Volnay are just a few outstanding examples of lovely red wines.
The Burgundy Wine Region
What is the Overview of Burgundy?
Burgundy’s Climats, or terroirs, are small, carefully defined vineyard plots that are situated on the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune’s slopes. These natural hillsides have clay-limestone soils that vary greatly in composition, and they reach 50 kilometers south of Dijon up to Maranges.
Burgundy is considered the finest region of France for outdoor enthusiasts, with its untouched scenery and mouthwatering wine varieties. This east-central wine-producing area is endowed with hills covered with blueberries, fields covered in trees, shimmering lakes, and large vineyards. It is a paradise for cyclists, walkers, and ramblers alike, especially those who enjoy landscapes peppered with Renaissance-era buildings, majestic châteaux, and medieval villages. It makes sense why it is so common for weddings. It is easy to understand why Burgundy is one of France’s most alluring regions when you consider the mouthwatering local cuisine, which includes dishes like boeuf bourguignon and Dijon mustard as well as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
What is the Best Time to Visit Burgundy?
Burgundy is best visited between September and November when the weather cools and the vineyards are decorated with a variety of autumnal hues.
What is the History of Burgundy?
Burgundy has a lengthy history with wine, going back to about 50 BC. It is said that when the Romans conquered Burgundy, the Celts were already making wine there. After the Roman Empire fell, the Catholic Church took over the wine-making responsibilities, picking up where the Celts had left off. Most of the land in the area was owned and farmed by Benedictine monks around 900, but about 200 years later, Cistercian monks advanced the art of Burgundian wines.
Clos Vougeot, the first enclosed Burgundian vineyard built by Cistercians in 1336, is still producing wine today. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the territory was governed by the Dukes of Burgundy. Due to the popularity of Pinot Noir wine, Duke Phillipe forbade the cultivation of Gamay grapes in 1395. Later on, he also prohibited the use of manure fertilizer, which enhanced grape yield but diluted the flavors. Burgundy was incorporated into France, which was still a monarchy, in the late 15th century. Following the French Revolution, the church’s property was seized and sold at auction to private individuals. Code Napoleon caused the country to be partitioned several times over different generations. Numerous owners of a château with only a few rows between them are not unusual today.
What are the Sub-regions to Explore on a Wine Tour of Burgundy?
Chablis, the Côte d’Or, the Côte Chalonnaise, and the Mâconnais are the four sub-regions that makeup Burgundy.
- Chablis sub-region
Chablis, in the Yonne district of northern Burgundy, is considered the birthplace of unadorned, cool-climate Chardonnay, producing wines of exceptional freshness, longevity, and seductive minerality.
- The Côte d’Or
Although the Cote d’Or seems to be a region of gently sloping hills, it actually makes up a large portion of the eastern side of the Massif Central. It has a “continental” climate, with hot summers and chilly winters. There are distinct grape varieties planted there than in France’s more southern areas since they must ripen in this rather chilly climate.
- The Côte Chalonnaise
The French wine region of Burgundy includes the Côte Chalonnaise sub-region. The same geology is continued southward by the Côte Chalonnaise, which is to the south of the Côte d’Or. Despite not having Grand cru vines, it is still in the primary region for the production of Burgundy wine. Similar to the Côte d’Or, it is situated on a rise overlooking Chalon-sur-Saône, a town that is about six kilometers out into the plain, at the western end of the huge Saône valley.
- The Mâconnais
The provincial town of Mâcon serves as the center of the Mâconnais wine region, which is located in southern Burgundy and bears its name. The region produces a sizable amount of wine, with a focus on Chardonnay-based white wines and a lesser amount of Pinot Noir- and Gamay-based red wines.
What are the Best Burgundian Wine Grapes Grown?
There are four primary grape varietals cultivated in Burgundy. Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes are considered to be “red” grapes while Chardonnay and Aligoté are the so-called “white” types. The most popular wines in the area are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and will certainly be what is featured on a self-guided wine tour of Burgundy.
Burgundy’s best red wines, distinguished for their aromas of red fruit and spices, are made from Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir-based wines typically have a lot of aging potential. The juice of pinot noir is colorless. The pigment in the grape skin gives the wine its red color during maceration and the subsequent time it spends in the fermentation tank.
What are the Historical Sites of Burgundy?
Here is a list of some of the most attractive historical sites in Burgundy:
- The Cistercian abbey Citeaux
The abbey, which is still in use today and is a place of prayer and worship, was constructed on the grounds of Saint-Nicolas-lès-Cîteaux, close to Nuits Saint Georges. When Robert de Molesme began the abbey’s establishment in 1098, the Duke of Burgundy Eudes I gave him the abbey’s holdings.
- Abbaye de la Bussiere
Abbaye de la Bussiere
The Cluny Cistersian monks oversaw the construction of this abbey in 1103 for Guillame the First. Up until the French Revolution, when the monks were compelled to leave their dwellings, the abbey’s influence in the area rose. The locals received equal shares of the lands and structures. The structures were in ruins until the early 1900s when the abbey was bought and lovingly renovated.
- Les Hospices de Beaune
The Hôtel-Dieu of Beaune and “Les Hospices de Beaune” are two of the most popular and intriguing attractions in Beaune, along with the vineyards. The Hôtel-Dieu has been a medical facility for more than five centuries and is now partially a museum devoted to medicine. Nicolas Rolin, lord of Anthume and Chancellor of the independent duchy of Burgundy, and his wife founded it in 1443. Beaune was chosen by the Chancellor to assist the needy and indigent people seeking medical care because it lacked a religious organization. The Hospices received their first patients in 1452, even though building on them came to a finish in 1457. The Pope authorized the establishment of the Sisters of Saint-Martha of Beaune order in 1459.
- Les Hospices de Beaune
In close proximity to locks 68Y and 69Y, the community of Buffon is located on the Yonne bank of the canal, downstream from and to the north of Montbard. This part of the canal has a mix of spacious canal sections and beautiful stone embankments, making it quite pleasant to sail. Visit the historic “Forge” built by French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, if you have the time. It is simple to moor near the entrance so you may take an interesting tour of the historical place.
What are the Best Wineries?
The following is a list of some of the best wineries you should visit in Burgundy:
- Domaine D’ardhuy
Two wine enthusiasts, Gabriel d’Ardhuy and Eliane, met and decided to start this vineyard and estate in 1947. At present, the 38-hectare Domaine d’Ardhuy produces 8 Grand Cru, 14 Premier Cru, and 14 Village wines. All of the wines are made using biodynamic practices and are pressed in a press from the 18th century.
- Maison Maurice Gavignet – Winery
This winery has a long history that dates to the 19th century. Honoré Gavignet and his son Maurice Gavignet are the owners of this wonderful estate. This vineyard stands out due to its spectacular estate, sound knowledge, and meticulous attention to the wines. They grow grapes of exceptional quality that are used to make fine wine. Additionally, they hand-harvest the grapes, making a visit to the winery more enlightening for wine lovers. The intensity and perfume of red fruits and blackberries are brought to the wines as they mature under the immense vaults of the cellars.
- Domaine Laroche winery
The history of Chablis is intimately connected to Domaine Laroche. Domaine Laroche is one of the most prestigious and substantial landowners of Grand Cru vineyard, with 90 hectares of vineyard located among the top crus. The Obédiencerie of Chablis, where, Domaine Laroche is headquartered, displays a history that dates back to the Middle Ages when the Canons of Saint Martin of Tours were engaged in the wine-making business. For ten years, Saint Martin’s remains were kept secret in the Obédiencerie. This outstanding testimony is still very much active. In these ancient vaults, Domaine Laroche continues to elaborate and age its Premiers and Grands Crus.
Where Should I Eat in Burgundy?
Le Lassey is the best place to eat while visiting the Burgundy wine region. This is according to my observation as I experienced great food and services. The cuisine at this classy restaurant, which is exquisitely situated inside the Renaissance-style Sainte Sabine castle, is particularly sophisticated. The chef, who has experience working in renowned restaurants, offers exquisite specialties like Bresse poultry with morels and vin jaune sauce and Arctic char from the Cévennes that has been salted and marinated in beetroot. The lunchtime set menu is simpler and the guest rooms encourage you to relax while admiring the charming park and its pond.
Restaurant La Forge is the other place you may consider visiting for your meals when in Burgundy. The La Forge restaurant offers warm, cozy settings, seasonal meals, and inventive, flavorful cooking.
Where Should I Stay in Burgundy
- Hostellerie Cèdre & Spa Beaune
The Hostellerie Cèdre & Spa Beaune welcomes you to the French art of living, a lovely fusion of luxury, well-being, and culinary pleasures. It is located in the center of Beaune, facing the walls and just a short distance from the renowned Hospices. The hotel, which is tucked away in a lush garden, features 40 individually designed rooms and suites, the Michelin-starred Clos du Cèdre gourmet restaurant, a lounge bar with a fireplace, and the Nuxe Spa, situated in a stunning vaulted cellar. The Hostellerie Cedre & Spa is the best place to discover the oenological and cultural heritage of Burgundy during a business or recreational visit.
One of France’s top restaurants In Burgundy, Lameloise has a solid reputation. Offering lovely guestrooms above a traditional dining room, this family-owned restaurant with accommodations has been in business since 1921. Chef Éric Pras, who has received three Michelin stars, is known for his inventive, delicate fare like confit prawns in blackcurrant oil or scallops with autumn truffles.
- Le Moulin Renaudiots
Le Moulin Renaudiots is a magnificently renovated 17th-century mill with five opulent rooms. This romantic refuge is warmly inviting thanks to the wood beams, free-standing bathtubs, cozy lighting, and large, comfortable mattresses. The attractiveness is further enhanced by beautifully landscaped gardens, a cool swimming pool, and outstanding three-course table d’hôte dinners.
How Can I Save Money in On a Wine Tour of Burgundy?
Burgundy, a famous wine area in eastern France, is surprisingly inexpensive. Burgundy continues to be a truly rural, down-to-earth destination with many things to see and do, unlike its equally famed but more aristocratic, manicured neighbors further west around Bordeaux. There is something you can do to avoid spending more in Burgundy. First, you should avoid high seasons. During the low seasons, the accommodation rates and other costs are at the lowest and you will definitely save a lot when visiting during that period. The other thing you should do to save money is to devote equal time to visit the country and town. Country destinations are much more affordable and yet enjoyable to visit.
For wine enthusiasts, Burgundy, or Bourgogne if you are French, needs little introduction and is one of the best locations for a vacation that includes wine tasting. Surprisingly, the first vines were cared for and studied by monks, who have maintained them throughout the famed wine region’s centuries-long viticultural history. Most AOCs in all of France are found in Burgundy, which is also home to some of the most prominent names in winemaking. There are several historical landmarks in the area that are worth visiting, along with excellent restaurants and lodging options. All these make it the best place to visit in the Country.
The Vibe: France is a stunning nation with many different gastronomic specialties. Discover some of these specialties in the Burgundy region to learn more about this intriguing place. The cuisine of Burgundy offers a wide variety of regional delicacies that symbolize traditional goods and pair well with its wines.
- Bourgogne wines website
- WINE TOURS FRANCE