Burgundy - Champagne - ITINERARY
From Lyon to Paris: Wine - Champagne - Food - Culture - History:
11 Days: Thursday, September 20 - September 30 2018
Accommodation: 10 nights:
|Night 1: Thursday,September 20:|
|Grand Hotel des Terreaux in Lyon, a 4 star, beautiful hotel in the heart of Old Lyon, the Unesco World Heritage site. It combines the atmosphere of an old-fashioned 19th century town house with a modern, innovative décor. It also has a beautify indoor pool and hot tub.|
|Night 2: Friday, September 21:|
|Hostellerie du Château de la Barge in Crèche-sur-Sâone, a 4 star historic hotel in a beautiful park with a great outdoor pool and a well-known restaurant.|
|Nights 3: Saturday, September 22:|
|Hotel Les Charmes in Meursault, a 3+ star very charming hotel in a historic 18th century building with a pool and a beautiful garden in the center of Meursault.|
|Nights 4 + 5 + 6: Sunday, September 23 + Monday, September 24 + Tuesday, September 25:|
|Hotel Henry II in Beaune, a 4 star, very comfortable hotel at the northern city gate of Beaune located within a 5 minute walk from the town center. Parts of the hotel buildings are in a historic monument with a second modern part added later.|
|Nights 7 + 8: Wednesday, September 26 + September 27:|
|Hotel La Gentilhommière in Nuits-Saint-George, a 3+ star Hotel, a typical Burgundian residence situated on the outskirts of town in a 30 acres beautiful park with swimming pool and tennis courts.|
|Night 9: Friday, September 28:|
|Hostellerie des Clos in Chablis, a 4 star charming hotel in the heart of Chablis with a great spa and fitness room as well as a renowned restaurant.|
|Night 10: Saturday, September 29:|
|Hotel Holiday Inn Reims Centre in Reims, a 4 star modern hotel with a roof top restaurant that provides for stunning birds eye views on the famous cathedral.|
PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THE SAMPLE ITINERARY BELOW (ITINERARY OF 2017). FOR 2018 THERE WILL BE SOME CHANGES OF WINE ESTATES, RESTAURANTS, ETC. BUT THE STRUCTURE OF THE TOUR REMAINS THE SAME.
DAY 1: Thursday, September 20
|Arrival in Lyon, check-in at Grand Hotel des Terreaux.|
|02:00 pm Welcome drink and introduction to the Burgundy / Champagne wine region in the Grand Hotel des Terreaux in Lyon.
|03.30 pm Departure at the hotel. We will take a short walk across the bridge of the Sâone river to Antic Wine in the Renaissance part of old Lyon.|
|04.00 pm Tasting of Beaujolais wines with Georges Dos Santos the flying Sommelier from Antic Wine in Lyon.
We will do a tour d'horizon of the Beaujolais region and taste wines from different appelations.
|05.30 pm Departure and back to the hotel.|
|08.00 pm Dinner and Wine at a traditional "Bouchon".
A "Bouchon" is speciality of Lyon. It is a simple, traditional restaurant with typical Lyon cuisine. There is only one menu and a "Pot de Lyon", a Beuajolais wine in a 1/2 or 1 liter carafe. When coming to Lyon it is a "MUST" to experience the hospitality, the gaiety, and uniqueness of these places. Sometimes, after some Pot de Lyon people spill out onto the streets and start dancing.
DAY 2: Friday, May 10
|09.00 am Check out of hotel, drop off luggage at the bus.|
|09.30 am Guided sightseeing tour of Lyon.
Lyon is France’s second largest city with around two million people, and a chic, sharp, savvy, historic, bustling, city. It was founded by the Romans in 34 BC, and has been a commercial, industrial, and banking powerhouse for the last five hundred years. In the 15th century it became Europe’s publishing center, by the mid 18 hundreds it had become Europe’s silk-weaving center, at the dawn of the 20th century it became France’s cineastic center, and today it is a sophisticated city with a dynamic cultural life, a thriving university scene, and France’s gourmet capital. The city center lies on the peninsular at the confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers, the oldest part of Lyon is sandwiched between the Saône river and the hillside to the west. Very special are the "Traboules" interior passageways between houses established mostly during the "silk" period of Lyon.
|11.30 pm Departure from Lyon and short drive to Collonges.|
|12.00 pm Lunch at L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, Paul Bocuse restaurant in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or.
This restaurant is one of the holy grail of classical cooking. Since 1965 it defends its 3 Michelin stars. Bocuse was a chef who pushed boundaries and is still a benchmark for technical perfection in the kitchen.
|03.00 pm Departure and drive to the beautiful Beaujolais region.|
|04.00 pmVisit and tasting at Domaine Georges Descambes in Vermont, Villié-Morgon, Beaujolais and drive to the Beaujolais region.
Since 1988 Georges Descombes makes his own wine in the tiny village of Vermont, in the Morgon appellation. He is part of what could be considered Beaujolais' second-wave of natural winemakers, and he is certified “organic” by ECOCERT. His production is two-tiered, the domaine wines deriving from his own 15.5 ha of vines in the five AOCs: Morgon, Brouilly, Regnié, Chiroubles, and Beaujolais Villages, and the négoçiant wines, a separate range he makes from purchased fruit. Descombes is also the patriarch of what has in recent years become a whole winemaking clan in the hamlet of Vermont. The Descombes complex houses Damien Coquelet, Georges' step-son who produces excellent Chiroubles and Morgon, and Kevin Descombes, Georges' son who began vinifying his own Morgon and Beaujolais just a couple years ago.
|06.00 pm Departure|
|06.30 pm Arrival and check in at Hostellerie Château de la Barge in Crêche-sur-Sâone.
This estate sits right on the border of the Beaujolais region and the Mâconnais. Relax in the beautiful garden, enjoy a swim in the pool, or have a glass of a Crément de Bourgogne on the romantic outdoor patio.
|08.00 pm Dinner Menu at the hotel.
The hotel has a very good restaurant recommended in the Michelin guide.
DAY 3: Saturday, May 11
|09.00 am Check-out at hotel and drive through beautiful hilly, romantic Burgundy.
|09:30 am Visit and tasting at Domaine Ferret in Fuissé, Poully-Fuissé, Mâconnais.
Situated in the heart of Fuissé, Domaine Ferret has long been a producer of top Pouilly-Fuissé wines. The estate was managed by the Ferret family from its founding in 1840 until it was purchased by Louis Jadot in 2008. Under the formidable leadership of Jeanne Ferret, who ran the house with a rod of iron for half a century, Domaine Ferret became a major force in the region. Daughter Colette joined her in 1992. Jeanne died in 1993, Colette in 2007, leaving no heirs, and after 150 years in the Ferret family the domaine was put up for sale. Domaine Ferret has played a key role in defining the quality of the region. It was the first one in Pouilly-Fuissé to begin bottling at the estate, shortly after World War II. Its long-standing focus on vinifying each parcel of vines separately has allowed for the identification of the top terroirs. Domaine Ferret’s estate vineyards are comprised of 18 hectares throughout the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation; 14 of these are located in the amphitheater of hills surrounding the town of Fuissé and 4 are near the Roche de Vergisson, in the north of the appellation. The spectrum of rocks present in Fuissé is the most diverse within the Mâconnais, and the Ferret vineyards, which are spread across the appellation's entire range of soil types, is one of its best ambassadors.
|11:30 am Departure and drive to Mercurey, Côte Chalonnaise.|
|01.00 pm Lunch (beverages on your own) at restaurant Hostellerie du Val d’Or in Mercurey.
The restaurant in this former coach stop offers classical Burgundian cuisine and wines from the region at its best.
|02.30 pm Cellar tour and tasting at Domaine Theulot-Juillot in Mercurey, Côte Chalonnaise.
This family domaine of 11.5 hectares was founded by Emile Juillot in the early 1900s, and was long known under the name Domaine Emile Juillot. Current owners are Nathalie Theulot, granddaughter of Emile and her husband Jean-Claude Theulot. Winewise very fittingly described the estate: “Old fashioned” burgundy producer, in the best sense of the words. Serious, age-worthy wines which show off both the unique aromatic joys of Pinot Noir and the particular character of the six premier cru sites of Mercurey that they cultivate. These are wines of the utmost integrity, not prettified in any way, because they do not need to be. Jean-Claude Theulot, Emile Juillot’s grand son-in-law, has steadily raised the renown of this estate to the top echelon of Mercurey. Fittingly, the name has been changed from “Emile Juillot” to “Theulot-Juillot” in recognition of the transformation that he has wrought.” Nathalie told us that since 2004 the estate has adopted sustainable viticulture practices with the aim to eventually convert to biodynamics.
|04.30 pm Departure|
|04:45 pm Guided tour of the Château de Rully and tasting at the Domaine Rully, Côte Chalonnaise.
Visible from far away among the vineyards, the Château de Rully is a medieval fortress built in the 12th century. Visiting the castle will take you on a journey through French history from the middle ages to today. Since its origin, the castle has been kept in the same family and the current owner Count Raoul de Ternay will guide us through his home, showing the history of his ancestors. By being a private property (and not a museum) every single visit is a unique and authentic experience. The tour will be completed by a tasting of the Château’s wines in the medieval kitchen. This visit will give us a glimpse into the history of Burgundy.
|06.30 pm We leave the Côte Chalonnaise and take a short drive to the Côte de Beaune .|
|07.00 pmArrival and check-in at Hotel Les Charmes in Meursault, Côte de Beaune.
Enjoy the quaint Burgundian wine village. Evening and dinner on your own.
DAY 4: Sunday, May 12
We will spend the Sunday in Meursault just like the French would spend their Sundays. In Europe - and that includes France – on Sundays the stores are closed and this is the day to decompress, to relax, to spend time with family or friends, to go for long walks, to have a long luncheon, to enjoy doing things that the working days do not allow for. We will soak in the feel for life in a small Burgundian wine village.
|10.00 am Vineyard walk and tour of the town of Meursault with Karoline Knoth.
Karoline has a Diploma in European Ethnology and History from the University of Würzburg and lives in Meursault with her husband who is from Meursault. She knows the town and landscape like the back of her hands. She did intensive research on the history of winemaking in Meursault and published a book (Allons en vendage) on wine making in Meursault during the 1930s. She will be the perfect guide to give us intimate insights into a Burgundian wine village.
|12.30 pm Departure in Meursault and five minute drive to Auxey-Duresses, Côte de Beaune.|
|12.40 pm Lunch with wine pairing at Domaine Michel Prunier & Fille in Auxey-Duresses, Côte de Beaune.
The tiny village of Auxey-Duresses is just 2 km from Meursault and one of the lesser communes which are also located in this section of the Côte de Beaune, virtually unknown to the casual Burgundy drinker. These wines provide a very good price-quality ratio. Auxey-Duresses sits at the juncture of the red wine terroirs of Volnay and Pommard and the white wine terroir of Meursault. The Prunier family has been making wine in Auxey-Duresses for over four generations. The Domaine Michel Prunier however was founded by him and his wife Michèle with 5 acres of vineyards in 1968. Daughter Estelle studied viticulture and after graduating in 2002 she worked in Bordeaux and Australia to gain experience. In 2014 she came home to work with her parents. Today the domaine has 30 acres under vine and they apply organic viticulture practices. Mirroring the soil situation in the valley they produce 30 percent white and 70 percent red wine. The flagship of the domaine is the Auxey-Duresses "Clos du Val”, a 1ière Cru. “We are very proud of this vineyard because it is a family vineyard” says Estelle Prunier.
|03.20 pm Departure.|
|03.30 pm Cellar tour and tasting at Domaine Chavy-Chouet in Meursault, Côte de Beaune.
(requested, not yet confirmed)
Owner of this domaine is Romaric Chavy, the 7th generation of a Burgundian family working their vines. Before Romaric took over this was not a wine producing estate. The bulk of the production was sold to the négociants. At a very young age Romaric started to learn everything about viticulture and did stints working in South Africa, Spain, Greece, and the Languedoc. When he took over from his father Hubert, he decided to produce his own wine. They own parcels in top sites in Meursault and 40% of the estate’s vineyards are in spectacular sites in Puligny-Montrachet. Romaric is focused on using this incredible potential to produce world-class wines.
|05.30 pm Introduction to the historic Cavaillé-Coll-Orgel in the Saint Nicolas Church of Meursault.
This hour will be a very special treat for all music lovers. The president of the organ society of Meursault will give an in-depth explanation about the history and technical details of this organ. He will also play a short concert for us. This is a rare opportunity to get close to one of the most fascinating instruments.
|07.00 pm Dinner (beverages on your own) at restaurant Auprès du Clocher in Pommard.
This is an off the beaten track place hidden on the church square. The reputation of Chef Jean-Christophe Moulet goes far beyond Burgundy and the cuisine is simply devine. The wine list boasts of a wide selection of Burgundy wines at a very affordable price point.
DAY 5: Monday, May 13
|09.30 am Check-out of hotel and short drive to Puligny-Montrachet.|
|10.00 am Guided walk into the Grand Cru Montrachet vineyards and cellar visit of Maison Olivier Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet, Côte de Beaune.
The Leflaive family is a long-standing Burgundian “wine” family who always could call some of the best vineyards in Burgundy their own. But it was Joseph Leflaive, grandfather of Olivier, Patrick and cousin Anne-Claude (owner of Domaine Leflaive, who died very suddenly last spring) who brought the family business to a different level when he founded Domaine Leflaive. In 1984 Oliver and Patrick left Domaine Leflaive and founded their own Maison Leflaive, a top négociant house. Maison Olivier Leflaive is continuously expanding and acquired several vineyards – among them Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru and Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru - that allows him to develop the “Domaine” and to build up his range of Domaine wines alongside the négoce business. Patrick Leflaive will take us into the Montrachet Batard Grand Cru vineyard – a ¾ mile walk - and will talk extensively about the terroir, the vines and the vineyard work for us to understand what is at the source of one of the worlds most beautiful white wine. I quote Olivier Leflaive “Our daily mission is to produce top quality grapes. This involves a sustainable approach to working the vines, and also supporting our partner winegrowers in cultivating their plots using an organic or biodynamic approach. We have not any organic certification as we don’t hesitate to use chemical treatment if it’s really necessary. The harvest is entirely manual and the grapes are picked with the utmost respect for the plant. Harvesting by machine is to be avoided at all costs as it damages the vines and can never match the skill and judgment of a human being.”
|12.30 pm Lunch at restaurant La Table d’Olivier Leflaive in Puligny-Montrache.
Wine and food goes together. Here we will experience a wonderful pairing. The Leflaive wines are beautifully matched with the gourmet food.
|03.00 pm Departure
On the way to Chassage-Montrachet we have time to linger, to stop at the Montrachet Grand Cru vineyard, where the most expensive white wine grows to soak in the beautiful landscape with a view all the way to Meursault.
|03.30 pm Winery tour and tasting at Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard in Chassagne-Montrachet, Côte de Beaune.
The Gagnard family has always been involved in wine and is related to many other wine families in Chassagne. It was in the 60s that Jean-Noël Gagnard started to make his own wine from vines inherited from his parents, when the vineyard was split between him and his brother. Hence the Domaine Jean-Noël Gagnard was born. He was able to purchase several parcels of good vineyards and expanded the domaine to 25 acres. Since 1989 daughter Caroline took over the management of the domaine. She attended the Beaune School of Viticulture and then the University in Dijon to learn about oenology. In 2000 Caroline started the process of converting to organic farming and since 2010 it is completely organic. The main effects are more focused wines, with a more clear and precise definition of the terroir with emphasis on elegance and minerality. The domaine produces ten different whites in top vineyards, thus tasting their wines is an exciting aromatic journey around the appellation.
|05:30 pm Departure and drive to Beaune.
|06:00 pm Arrival and check-in at Hotel Henry II in Beaune.
The rest of the evening is free for you to discover Beaune, and its many wine bars.
DAY 6: Tuesday, May 14
We have a leisurely day today: almost no driving, we stay in and around Beaune, the Burgundy wine capital, and can walk to almost everything. While strolling through town we get a much better feel for this beautiful, historic place, still today entirely surrounded by the medieval city wall.
|The early morning is free for you to discover historic Beaune, and to enjoy the many wine shops in town.|
|11.00 am Guided tour of the Hospice de Beaune.
The Hospice de Beaune was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor of Burgundy, as a hospital for the poor and needy. It is still a hospital but services for patients are now provided in different new buildings. The original hospital building, the Hôtel-Dieu, is one of the finest examples of French fifteenth-century architecture. The original building was used until 1971 as the hospital of Beaune and home for the elderly. Today the entire building has been converted to a museum. From the very beginning the Hospices benefitted from donations of land, money and vineyards from former patients and wealthy benefactors. The Hospices are now the owners of 135 acres of vineyards, including some of the most sought-after parcels in Burgundy. Every year on the third Sunday in November a charity wine auction (only barrels of the just harvested vintage) is organized at the Hospice which attracts bidders and wine aficionados from around the globe, and pretty much sets the price for that vintage of Burgundy wines.
|12.30 pm Lunch (beverages on your own) at Brasserie Le Carnot in Beaune.
This is a typical brasserie and packed every day since it is a favorite lunch spot among the locals.
|02.30 pm Tour of the ancient cellars and tasting at Maison Joseph Drouhin in Beaune, Côte de Beaune.
Joseph Drouhin was only 22 when he left his native Chablis to move to Beaune to establish his wine merchant business “Maison Joseph Drouhin” in 1880. His son started to build up a ‘Domaine’ and purchased vineyards in outstanding appelations. Today the Domaine Joseph Drouhin is with 182 acres one of the largest wine producing estates in the region. It owns vineyards in all of Burgundy: Chablis (38 hectares - 95 acres), Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, (32 hectares - 80 acres), Côte Chalonnaise (3 hectares - 7.5 acres). It is comprised of a majority of Premier and Grand Crus, planted with the two Burgundian grape varietals, pinot noir and chardonnay. It is still also one of the major négociants in Burgundy producing wines made from purchased grapes grown in different parts of Burgundy. In 1988 they invested in Oregon and established the winery Joseph Drouhin in the Willamette Valley. Today both the estates in Burgundy as well as the one in Oregon are owned and operated by the great grandchildren of Joseph Drouhin. The most ancient vaulted cellars of Beaune belong to Drouhin. We will visit the historic cellars of about 2.5 acres under the center of Beaune. These cellars once belonged to the Dukes of Burgundy and later to the Kings of France. We will walk on history much older than the Kingdom of France, since already the Romans built wine cellars in Beaune and we will discover bricks, paths and walls nearly 2000 years old.
|04:00 pm Departure and short drive to Savigny-lès-Beaune.|
|04.30 pm Visit and tasting at Domaine Dublère in Savigny-lès-Beaune.
This domaine is owned by native North Caroline and long time resident of Washington DC Blair Pethel. For 25 years he worked in Washington DC as political journalist. In 2003 he gave in to his inner callings and followed his love – Burgundy wines – to Beaune. He interned with top Burgundian winegrowers and winemakers to learn everything possible about the unique terroir and winemaking process. He eventually established his own domaine and was able to purchase parcels in top vineyard sites in the Côte de Beaune and in the Côte de Nuits, and in addition he purchases fruit from a handful of superb growers across the Côte D’Or. I quote Allen Meadows (Burghound.com Issue 42, 2011): “Pethel clearly has a gifted touch because the wines are almost too good to have been made by someone with so little practical experience (he employs no consultants).”
|06.30 pm Departure and drive back to Beaune.
Time to relax in the hotel before dinner or hit the various wine bars for an aperitif before dinner.
|07.45 pm Charcuterie, jambon persillé - the Burgundian speciality - and cheese paired with Burgundy wines at La Maison de Maurice in Beaune.
This wine bar, wine shop, restaurant and guest house is kind of unique. Maurice Marle, the owner, is a character and gives the place its special ambiance.
DAY 7: Wednesday, May 16
|09.00 am Check-out at hotel and departure from Beaune.|
|09.30 am Cellar tour and tasting at Domaine Faiveley in Nuits-Saint-George, Côte de Nuits.
Domaine Faiveley was established by Pierre Faiveley in 1825, and quickly became one of the top wine producers in Burgundy. After the great depression at the beginning of the 20th century, wine consumption decreased and sales fell drastically. Proprietor then was Georges Faiveley and he came up with a brilliant idea to reduce the stock of his great wines. He and friend Camille Rodier founded the now world-famous Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, the renaissance of an old bacchic brotherhood from the Middle Ages. "As our wines are no longer selling, let's invite our friends to drink them!" Since 2007 the domaine is owned and managed by Erwan Faiveley, the 7th generation of the Faiveley family and great grand-son of George. The domaine owns about 250 acres of vineyards – 150 acres were acquired over the years in the Côte Chalonnaise - with 25 acres of Grand Cru and 70 acres of Premier Cru sites as well as several solely owned sites (Monopol sites).
|11.15 am Departure|
|11.30 am Cellar tour, and tasting at Domaine J.J.Confuron in Prémeaux-Prissey. Côte de Nuits.
The roots of this domaine go back to the year 1926 when Jean Confuron of Vosne married Anne-Marie Bouchard of Prémeaux – vines came from both sides of the family and the newly married couple chose to live in Prémeaux. Today the domaine is in the hands of their granddaughter Sophie who married Alain Meunier. When Sophie and Alan Meunier took over in 1988 it was clear to them to convert to organic farming. “In order to fully respect the character of each terroir, we have chosen to use only natural products to treat our vines and have done so since 1990” Alain told me over dinner when I sat next to him. This is one of the small family run top Burgundy estates with 20 acres under vine in 1er and Grand Cru sites in the Côte de Nuits.
|12.45 pm Departure and short drive back to Nuits-Saint-George.|
|01.00 pm Lunch (beverages on your own) at restaurant in Nuits-Saint-George.|
|02.30 pm Visit and tasting at Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair in Nuits-Saint-George.
The domaine has been in the Liger-Belair family for 250 years. The somewhat complicated history came to a happy end when Thibault Liger-Belair took charge of the vines as winemaker and created Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair in 2001. In 2003 he added parcels of Richebourg, Clos Vougeot, and in Vosne-Romanée to his vineyard portfolio. He also bought vineyards in the Beaujolais region, in Moulin-à-Vent. He wants to farm biodynamically but it takes some transition time to convert the vineyards. Thibault is emerging as one of the few truly great winemakers in Nuits-Saint-George.
|04.15 pm Departure|
|04.45 pm Guided tour of the Château du Clos de Vougeot.
In former times the Château du Clos de Vougeot was the acrigultural domaine of the Abbey of Cîteaux, where the roots of the Order of the Cistercians lie. It is a grand 16th century Renaissance-style manor house, with a wine cellar dating back to the 12th century. It sits majestically in the center of the 125 acres Grand Cru vineyard ‘Clos de Vougeot’ – the largest Grand Cru site in all of Burgundy. It has been owned since 1945 by the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, a worldwide organization dedicated to the love of wine from Burgundy. The above-ground cellar, with its four enormous antique wine presses, is now used for their monthly dinners.
|05.45 pm Departure|
|06.15 pm Arrival and check-in at Hotel La Gentilhommière in Nuits-Saint-George, Côte de Nuits.
Relax, enjoy the pool and the beautiful park of this peaceful environment.
|08.00 pm Dinner Menu (beverages on your own) at restaurant La Gentilhommière.|
DAY 8: Thursday, May 17
|09.00 am Departure|
|09.30 am Cellar tour and tasting at Domaine Anne Gros in Vosne-Romanée, Côte de Nuits.
The Gros family clan has been making wine in Burgundy since the early 19-hundreds. One branch of the family was the Domaine François Gros in Vosne-Romanée. His daughter Anne took over the domaine in 1988 and renamed it Domaine Anne Gros. Today the domaine has 18 acres in and around Vosne-Romanée and parcels in three Grand Cru sites – Richebourg, Echezeaux, Clos de Vougeot. There are no 1er crus; on the village level there is La Combed’Orveau, Chambolle-Musigny, Les Barreaux, and Vosne-Romanée. Anne Gros has become one of the major players in Burgundy and her wines figure among the most sought-after.
|11.30 am Departure
|11.45 am Cellar tour and tasting at Domaine Guillon & Fils in Gevrey-Chambertin, Côte de Nuits.
Jean-Michel Guillon was born in Paris and a pilot with the French army. Nobody in his family was ever involved in wine. He always loved Burgundy wines and in 1980 he boarded a train to Burgundy, got off and stayed. He had no training or any qualifications in winemaking. He studied what the experienced masters in the region did and built up relationships that have led to acquisitions of vineyards. Through tireless work he built a domaine of 35 acres of vineyards in the finest sites, among them parcels in the 2 Grand Cru sites: Clos de Vougeot and Mazis-Chambertin. In 2005 his son joined to work in the winery. Since 1990 the prominent French wine magazine Guide Hachette regularly selects the Guillon wines as top wines.
|01.15 pm Departure.|
|01.30 pm Lunch menu (beverages on your own) at the restaurant Chez Guy in Gevrey-Chambertin.
'Chez Guy’ is an institution in the area. Chef Yves Rebsamen learned his trade under Michelin star chefs Ledoyen and Bernard Loiseau. This restaurant is a gathering spot for winemakers and wine merchants in the region. I am sure that a lot of deals were cooked up at this place over a wonderful luncheon or dinner.
|03.15 pm Departure.
We will take the ‘Route des Grand Cru’ when drining to Vosne-Romenée. We have time to pass through the famous Grand Cru vineyards, to stop, to look at the world famous vineyards such as Romanée Conti, La Tâche, sandwiched between the village of Vosne-Romanée and the wooded hills to the west.
|04.00 pm Cellar tour and tasting at Domaine Méo-Camuzet in Vosne-Romanée, Côte de Nuits. (requested, not yet confirmed)
Domaine Méo-Camuzet is one of the most celebrated domaines of the Côte d’Or, located in the heart of prestigious Vosne-Romanée. The domaine was founded in the early 20th century by Étienne Camuzet, member of the French Parliament for the Côte d'Or from 1902 to 1932. He purchased vineyards that are among the most exceptional in the region. Without direct heirs the domaine was bequeathed to Jean Méo, a distant relative. In 1985 son Jean-Nicolas Méo took over and made bold changes. Until then the vineyards were leased to other vintners. Jean-Nicolas started to reclaim the land to produce Domaine Méo-Camuzet wines. He called upon Burgundy’s legendary winemaker Henri Jayer to mentor him during the transition period. Jean-Nicolas Méo is the technical and administrative director and Christian Faurois, who went to viticultural school in Beaune is the winemaker.
|06.00 pm Departure.|
|06.15 pm Back at hotel in Nuits-Saint-Georges.
Evening and dinner on your own. We have an early start the next morning, and some long bus drives. Time to decompress and relax.
DAY 9: Friday, May 18
|08.15 am Check out at hotel and departure.|
|10.00 am Guided tour at Fontenay Abbey (Bernard de Clairveau), Montbard.
Fontenay Abbey in Burgundy was founded in 1118 by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a leading French saint, who was instrumental in placing the seeds for winemaking in all of Europe. It is the oldest preserved Cistercian abbey in the world. Recognized as French historic monument in 1862, it was declared World Heritage by Unesco in 1981. Luckily the abbey was not destroyed during and after the French revolution. All the buildings of the Romanesque period: the Abbey Church, the Dormitory, Cloister, Chapter Room, the Common Room, and the Forge are preserved. Still today we can admire the beauty and purity of architecture unspoiled for 900 years, and can enjoy the quiet of a place designed for spirituality.
|12.00 am Departure and drive to Chablis.|
|01.00 pm Arrival and Check-in at Hostellerie des Clos in Chablis.
Time to wind down a bit after the bus drive. We will have LUNCH (beverages on your own) at the hotel restaurant which is close to 1 Michelin star level and famous beyond Chablis.
|03.00 pm Departure and short drive to Préhy.|
|03.15 pm Cellar visit at Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard in Préhy.
This domaine is a fruit of love. Jean-Marc Brocard is from the Côte d’Or region of Burgundy and fell in love with the daughter of a winemaker in Chablis. As a wedding gift, the couple got 2.5 acres of a vineyard near the church of Saint Claire in Préhy, in the vicinity of the town of Chablis. In 1973 Jean-Marc established the domaine Jean-Marc Brocard and developed the estate into a domaine with over 200 acres under vine. He had no prior connection with wine and trained with his father in-law to learn everything about winemaking. In 1996, Julien Brocard joined his father with the goal to convert to organic and biodynamic farming. The process is still ongoing. ‘La Boissonneuse’ vineyard was the first one to start with the transition process in 1997 and ‘Vielles Vignes’ followed in 2001. Today, Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard is run by the ‘father-son’ team and stands for the upper echelon of Chablis wines.
|05.00 pm Departure|
|05.15 pm Cellar visit and tasting at Domaine Servin, Chablis.
The domaine Servin is one of the oldest, largest, and most renowned family run wine estates in the Chablis region. The Servin family has been involved in wine since 1654. Today 75 acres spread throughout the Chablis region belong to the domaine. The domaine has parcels in 4 of the 7 Chablis Grand Cru vineyard sites and is one of the only 7 producers in Chablis that own Grand Cru plots. All Grand Cru vineyards sit on the right bank of the Serein river between 100 and 250 meter altitude having perfect sun exposure. It will be great to be able to compare the Servin wines with the Brocard wines. Domaine Servin produces rare unoaked Chablis, which I personally enjoy very much, but for the casual Chablis drinker these wines might come across as rather non-Chablis style wines.
|07.00 pm The evening is free for you to explore the town of Chablis. Dinner is on your own.
Discover the bistros, brasseries, and restaurants in town.
DAY 10: Saturday, May 19
|08.30 am Check-out at hotel and departure.|
|We are leaving Burgundy and cross into the Champagne region.|
|10.00 am Cellar tour and tasting at the grower Champagne House Champagne Jean Josselin in Gyé-sur-Seine, Champagne.
The Josselin family has been growing grapes since 1854 in Gyé-sur-Seine in the Côte des Bar, located 150 km south of Epernay and 200 km south of Reims and crossed by two rivers: the Seine and the Aube. The Côte des Bar became part of the official Champagne region in the early 1900s. In 1957 Jean Josselin decided to create his own brand: ‘Champagne Jean Josselin’. Champagne Jean Josselin ist a typical so called ‘grower Champagne’. The entire operation is managed by the family. Jean Pierre Josselin and son Jean Félix tend to the vines and take care of the vinification and Veronique Josselin does sales and marketing. They hired an American Sharona Tsubota to get into the American market. The Champagne House Jean Josselin produces about 100,000 bottles per year depending on the vintage. We will get a fabulous introduction to the steps it takes to produce a top notch Champagne.
|11.45 am Departure and short drive to Essoyes.|
|12.15 pm Lunch (beverages on your own) at restaurant Les Berges de l’Ource in Essoyes, Champagne.
Essoyes is a special place. It is the village of Renoir. August Renoir married Aline Victorine Charigot, who grew up in Essoyes. The Renoir family spent every summer here and many more months during the year. This village became so important to them that they wanted to get buried here. At every turn of the village we bump into sites that were important to the Renoir family: their family home, August Renor’s studio, their burial plot on the local cemetery. We will have time to visit some of the important Renoir sites.
|02.30 pm Departure|
|04.45 pm Cellar tour and tasting at the Champagne House AR Lenoble in Epernay, Champagne.
AR Lenoble is one of the few bigger producers in Champagne that has been consistently family-owned and entirely independent since the very beginning. AR Lenoble was founded in 1920 by Armand-Raphaël Graser who arrived in Champagne from his native Alsace in 1915 in the middle of the First World War. Not wanting to have a German sounding last name at that particular moment in history, he christened his wines “Lenoble” as he believed the wines of Champagne to be the most noble wines in France; his initials “AR” preceded the “Lenoble” and a new brand was created. Today his grandchildren, brother and sister Antoine and Anne Malassagne, are owners and manger of the estate. They took over in 1993 from their father and in just over twenty years, they have quietly yet confidently transformed AR Lenoble into one of the jewels of the Champagne region. AR Lenoble was the second House in Champagne to be awarded the “Haute Valeur Environnementale” certification as part of a legal measure implemented under French law in 2007 to encourage sustainable development.
|06.45 pm Departure|
|07.15 pm Arrival and Check-in at Hotel Holiday Inn in Reims.
The evening is free for you to explore the city of Reims. Dinner is on your own.
DAY 11: Sunday, June 19
Enjoy the early morning in Reims, the world's Champagne capital. Visit a service in the magnificent famous gothic Cathedral or simply take a break after the long day yesterday.
|10.00 am Cellar tour and tasting at the Champagne House Piper-Heidsieck in Reims, Champagne. (requested, not yet confirmed)
The origins of the Champagne House Piper Heidsieck go back to Florens-Louis Heidsieck. He was the son of a Lutheran minister from Borgholzhausen in Westphalia in Germany. Shortly after he moved to Reims, he ell in love with the daughter of a wealthy cloth merchant in Reims, whom he eventually married, and with the bubbly wine Champagne. In 1785, Florens-Louis Heidsieck founded the Champagne House, Heidsieck & Co. After the death of Florens-Louis in 1828 the Champagne House Heidsieck & Co was dissolved in 1834. Over the following 20 years, however, three separate Champagne Houses took on the name of Heidsieck, all linked to Florens-Louis Heidsieck by various nephews. Today, they are known as Piper-Heidsieck, Heidsieck et Cie Monopole, and Charles Heidsieck. We will tour the production facilities of Piper Heisdieck and will understand how one of the biggest and most famous Champagne House functions.
|11.30 am Departure from Reims and short drive to Paris.|
|01.00 pm Lunch at Brasserie Le Dôme in Paris.
At the end of our tour we will indulge in French culture one more time. We will have lunch in a French institution:. This is an upscale typical brasserie in a historic Art Deco building. We will share an exquisite meal and of course a Champagne before we all head home (the wines are on your own).