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 with beautifully renovated rooms in the heart of Chablis with a great spa and fitness room as well as a renowned restaurant.

 
Night 10: Saturday, September 29:

Hotel La Villa Eugène in Épernay, a 5 star exquisite boutique hotel on Épernay's elegant street dotted with palaces and mansions from a bygone era. Épernay is the viticultural capital of the Champagne region where many of the world-famous Champagne houses have their headquarters.

 

DAY 1: Thursday, September 20

AFTERNOON

Arrival in Lyon, check-in at Grand Hotel des Terreaux.

Welcome drink and introduction to the Burgundy / Champagne wine region in the Grand Hotel des Terreaux in Lyon.

 

EVENING

Dinner and wine at a traditional "Bouchon".

A "Bouchon" is a 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, September 21

MORNING

Guided sightseeing tour by bus 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.

 

LUNCH

Lunch at Restaurant 1217 at Château de Bagnols.

This 1 Michelin star restaurant is part of a medieval castle, which is now a hotel belonging to the Relais and Châteaux Group. There are no words to describe the magnificence and beauty of this castle, the grounds, the surrounding landscape. Chef Jean Alexandre Ouaratta trained with several Michelin star chefs, among them Paul Bocuse and at the Meurice in Paris. He very recently - in 2018 - was awarded 1 Michelin star, honoring his dedication to quality.

 

AFTERNOON

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.

 

EVENING

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. Dinner on your o


DAY 3: Saturday, September 22

MORNING

Visit 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.

 

LUNCH

Lunch (beverages on your own) at restaurant Le Mercurey in Mercurey.

This unassuming restaurant on the main street of Mercurey offers excellent, classic Burgundian cuisine and wines from the region at its best.

 

AFTERNOON

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.

 
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.

 

EVENING

Arrival and check-in at Hotel Les Charmes in Meursault, Côte de Beaune.
 

DINNER

Dinner (beverages on your own) at restaurant Le Chevreul in Meursault.

This restaurant belongs to the Matrot wine making domaine.


DAY 4: Sunday, September 23

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.

MORNING

Cellar tour and tasting 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.

 

LUNCH

Lunch at restaurant La Cremaillere.

The restaurant is right across the street from the domaine and used to belong to the Prunier family. We will have a typical Burgundian meal -Bœuf Bourguignon - matched with the wines of Domaine Michel Prunier & Fille.

 

AFTERNOON

Vineyard walk in the vineyards above Meursault 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.

 

EVENING

Arrival and check-in at Hotel Henry II in Beaune.

As one of the best preserved renaissance buildings in Europe, the "Hospices de Beaune" is hosting the primary wine auction in France, each year.

 

DINNER

Charcuterie 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. On top of it he is a dictionary when it comes to Burgundy wines. This will be lots of fun but at the same time a very educational evening.

 

DAY 5: Monday, September 24

MORNING

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.”

 

LUNCH

Winepairing lunch at restaurant La Table d’Olivier Leflaive of Maison Olivier Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet.

Wine and food goes together. Here we will experience a wonderful pairing. The Leflaive wines are beautifully matched with the gourmet food.

 

AFTERNOON

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.

Winery tour and tasting at Domaine Hubert Lamy in Saint-Aubin, Côte de Beaune.

The This tasting lets us explore wines from the lesser known villages just behind the hills where the white Grand Cru sites are. It will be interesting to compare Saint-Aubin wines with the wines of Puligny-Montrachet we had for lunch. The Lamy family can trace its roots as vine growers in Saint-Aubin to the mid 17-hundreds. Today the domaine is in the hands of Olivier Lamy. The domaine’s 45 acres of vineyards are around the Côte de Beaune in the villages of Saint-Aubin, Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet and Santenay. The majority of the vineyards is planted with Chardonnay (80%), the rest with Pinot Noir. Since 1997 everything is bottled at the domaine. Prior to 1997 the Lamys sold a portion of their production to the négociants in Beaune. The Saint-Aubin wines of Domaine Lamy are of outstanding quality but in general prices for Saint-Aubin wines remain well below wines from more well-known fashionable villages.

 

EVENING

Back at Hotel Henry II in Beaune.

The rest of the evening is free for you to discover Beaune, and its many wine bars. Dinner on your own.


DAY 6: Tuesday, September 25

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.

MORNING

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).”

 
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.

 

LUNCH

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.

 

AFTERNOON

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.

 
Cellar tour, and tasting at Domaine Nicolas Rossignol, Côte de Beaune.

Nicolas Rossignol is the fifth generation of a wine grower family in Volnay, Côte de Beaune. After finishing his education at the oenological school in Beaune he worked at various top estates - Domaine Joseph Voillot in Volnay, Domaine Louis Latour in Ardeche, Domaine Vieux Telegraphe in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine Boschendal Stellenbosch, Château Cardonne, owned by Château Lafite-Rothchild, in Bordeaux - to gain experience and to broaden his view on winemaking. In 1994 he started to vinify his own wine at his parent’s estate. In 1997 he was able to acquire 7.5 acres of vineyards in Volnay, Pommard, Beaune, Aloxe-Corton and Pernand- Vergelesses and started his own domaine. Today he owns 17 acres. Nicolas Rossignol is one of the best examples of the new generation of winemakers in Burgundy. The wines go through a long fermentation including 1 to 2 weeks cold maceration and he uses moderate amounts of new oak. The wines are bottled without fining or filtering. His domaine outgrew the technical facilities in Volnay and recently he built new winemaking facilities in Beaune. We will visite his state of the art winery in Beaune.

 

EVENING

Back at Hotel Henry II in Beaune.

Enjoy another relaxing evening in beautiful Beaune. Dinner on your own.


DAY 7: Wednesday, September 26

MORNING

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).

 
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.

 

LUNCH

Lunch (beverages on your own).

Restaurant Le Clos de la Vouge in Vougeot.

 

AFTERNOON

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.

 
Guided tour of the Abbey of Cîteaux.

The abbey was founded in 1098 by a group of monks who wanted to live more closely according to the “Rules of St. Benedict” (Pax, Ora et Labora). Monk Bernard later left Cîteaux to start a separate abbey: Clairvaux. He was the first abbot at Clairvaux and is since known as Bernard of Clairvaux, who was instrumental in spreading viticultural knowledge and the Pinot Noir grape to the regions east of the Rhine river. In the early 13-hundreds Cîteaux boasted of 500 houses and was the center of Christianity. Cîteaux had extensive vineyard sites – among them the Clos de Vougeot. The monks became experts in viticulture and it was here in Vougeot that they were the first to notice that different plots gave different wines, and laid the earliest foundation of the “Cru” system. Cîteaux survived the 100 year war and had about 200 monks in the early 16-hundred. With the religious war in France the monk population declined and later the French Revolution and secularization did the rest. In 1791 the abbey was seized by the French government, the monks had to leave and Cîteaux was sold. In 1898 the abbey of Cîteaux was bought back by the Cistercian Order and repopulated with monks from other abbeys. Today there are 30 monks living at the abbey of Cîteaux. However all vineyards are lost. In 1925 a herd of Montbeliarde cows was acquired and since then the monks produce wonderful cheese.

 

EVENING

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.

 

Dinner

Menu (beverages on your own) at restaurant La Gentilhommière.


DAY 8: Thursday, September 27

MORNING

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. We will also take a walk through the village and explore the world famous vineyards such as Romanée Conti, La Tâche, etc.

 
"Route des Grands Crus"

We will take the ‘Route des Grand Cru’ to Gevrey-Chambertin. We pass through the famous Grand Cru vineyards auch as Grands Échezeaux, Musigny, Clos de Tart, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, Marzis-Chambertin, jus to name a few. We have time to stop, to look, to soak in the beauty of the sea of vines, and to admire these vineyards sandwiched between the route Nationale and the wooded hills to the west.

 

LUNCH

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.

 

AFTERNOON

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.

 
Cellar tour and tasting at Domaine Pierre Gelin in Fixin, Côte de Nuits.

This Domaine was founded in 1925 by Pierre Gelin and is now run by his grandson Pierre-Emmanuel. They own own 33 acres of vienards in Fixin and Gevrey-Chambertin. To the casual Burgundy drinker Fixin is a lesser known appellation north of Gevrey-Chambertin. The appellation Fixin produces wines that show similar characteristics as a Gevrey-Chambertin. The appellation is full of well-reputed Premier Crus Pinot Noir, just at a more affordable price tag. The premiers Crus are Les Arvelets, Les Hervelets, Clos de la Perrière, Clos Napoléon and Clos du Chapître. The Gelin family modernized the wine making facilities in 2011 and started to pay much more attention to the cultivation method: the vines are cultivated in an environmentally-friendly manner and tilled. If fertilisers are required, they make sure that they are natural (manure from organic farming). Conscious of the need to respect the environment, the Domaine uses rainwater to wash its tractors and has installed a "plant container" to process water used to rinse sulphating equipment. The fermenting room is equipped with a screen and a sludge remover, so no wine-making effluents are discharged into the public network. Every year the wines of Domaine Pierre Gelin get high ratings in the French wine guides such as Hachette and Bettane et Dessauve.

 

EVENING

Back at hotel La Gentilhommière in Nuits-Saint-Georges. Dinner on your own.


DAY 9: Friday, September 28

MORNING

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.

 

LUNCH

Winepairing lunch at Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard in Préhy, Chablis.

We will enjoy a wonderful country luncheon with matching Brocard wines right at the Domaine. If weather permitting we will have lunch outside right next to the vineyard.

 
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.

 

AFTERNOON

Arrival and Check-in at Hotel Hostellerie des Clos in Chablis

 

 
Visit and tasting at Château Long-Depaquit in Chablis.

This wine estate is one of the six domains in all of Burgundy, including Beaujolais, belonging to Albert Bichot. The Bichot family can trace its roots back to 1214. They settled in Burgundy in 1350. In 1831 Bernard Bichot founded a wine trading business. His son bought the first vineyards and grandson Albert Bichot gave the family business the name and settled in the centre of Beaune in 1912. Today it is Albéric Bichot who took over in 1996. Though he fully respects family traditions, he is completely focused on the future. He compares himself to the "conductor of an orchestra, proud to bring people and their talents together over a common project". The challenges are numerous: converting to organic viticulture in the Côte-d'Or vineyards, on-going adaptation to new markets, etc. Albert Bichot now has 6 Domaines that cover all Burgundy from Beaujolais to Chablis. Château Long-Depaquit lies in the center of Chablis. Is a splendid estate and strolling through the beautiful gardens makes the time stand still. We will do a winery tour and will taste wines from the Bichot portfolio.

 

EVENING

Town of Chablis

We leisurely walk back through the town of Chablis. The evening is free for you to discover this cute little town. There are many restaurants, brasseries, bistros for an evening meal. Dinner is on your own. However the hotel restaurant is close to 1 Michelin star niveau and well regarded beyond Chablis.


DAY 10: Saturday, September 29

MORNING

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.

 

LUNCH

Lunch (beverages on your own) at restaurant at Hôtel Restaurant Saint-Hubert in Arcis sur Aube.
 

AFTERNOON

Arrival and check-in at La Villa Eugène in Épernay, the capital of the Champagne viticultural region.

Time to relax a bit after today's long drive.

 
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.

 

EVENING

Dinner at 1- Michelin star restaurant Les Berceaux in Épernay.

Chef Patrick Michelon will spoil us with an excellent menu. This restaurant represents the best of the cuisine Champenoise.


DAY 11: Sunday, September 30

MORNING

Cellar tour and tasting at the Champagne House Franck Pascal in Basilieux-sous-Châtillon, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne.

This is a very unique Champagne producing estate with an array of very different Champagnes. Franck Pascal grew up in this part of the world but did not start out working in viticulture. Having set off on a career path as a chemical engineer, a job that included training members of the military to deal with chemical warfare, he was shocked to discover that many similar chemicals were used in viticulture. He returned to Champagne in 1994 and set about converting the practices of his small 11 acres family estate to biodynamic principles. The decision came as a result of observing that the wines were best expressed through biodynamic methods, not simply following an ideology or as a reaction to what he already knew about industrial chemistry. The estate is extremely fragmented, spanning 20 parcels over 5 villages, thus the soils are very diverse. Over 70% of the vines produce Pinot Meunier, with 20% Pinot Noir and the rest Chardonnay.

 

LUNCH

Lunch at La Coupole in Montparnasse, Paris.
At the end of our tour, before we all head out into different directions, we will indulge in French culture one more time. We will have lunch in a French institution:
La Coupole is a historic Montparnasse café / restaurant (and an official French historic monument), which opened in 1927. This huge restaurant is a temple of Art Déco. It still symbolizes the “roaring twenties”. In was and still is to some lesser extent one of the hotspots of the intellectuals of Paris and abroad. Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemmingway, Picasso, Man Ray, Camus, James Joyce, Josephine Baker, Henri Miller, Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin and countless others were regulars at La Coupole. Despite its large size the cuisine is very good and every dish is carefully prepared.
 

END of TOUR

Print Email

Wine Tour

Bordeaux 2018


Taste first-class wines, enjoy exquisite wine pairing lunches and dinners at world-famous Châteaux, witness the art of making a barrique, visit an oyster farmer, get the full Bordeaux experience.

10 day immersion: September 04 – 13, 2018

For details click here

Wine Tour

Burgundy & Champagne 2018


Travel from Lyon to Paris, visit 15+ Wine Domaines, 3 Champagne Houses, discover historical gems such as Fontenay Abbey, Hospice de Beaune, experience French hospitality and genuine Burgundian cuisine.

11 day immersion: September 20 – September 30, 2018

For details click here

Wine Tour

Rhône 2018 SOLD OUT


Follow the Rhône river from Lyon to Avignon visiting famous “GSM” wine estates, delve into medieval history in the former Christian capital Avignon, understand the impressionist painters love of the region, do a sidekick to the Bandol region in Provence.

10 day immersion: October 15 – October 24, 2018

For details click here

Wine Tour

Germany North 2018 SOLD OUT


Spend 7 days in the Rhein, Ahr, Mosel, and Nahe valleys, taste world-class Rieslings, delve deep into German history and culture.

7 day immersion: May 02 – 08, 2018

For details click here

Wine Tour

Germany South & Alsace 2018


Discover Germany's stunning Pinot-Noirs, compare the different wine styles of Germany and Alsace, indulge in beautiful, medieval wine villages, enjoy culinary highlights in both Germany and Alsace.

9 day immersion: May 12 – 20, 2018

For details click here

Wine Tour

Germany East 2018


Expect gorgeous Pinot-Blancs, Silvaner, Lemberger, attend performances at world-renowned theater houses, discover East Germany's unique history.

10 day immersion: June 11 – 20, 2018

For details click here

Wine Blog

Schiller Wine Blog


I live in the greater Washington DC (US) and Frankfurt am Main (Germany) areas and write about wine.

A Daily, International Wine Blog

Follow Christian here