As I sit down to write this in my favorite chair back at home, I’m sipping some delicious tea I brought back with me from France. Although I wish it were the rich merlot I experienced in Burgundy this will suffice for now! We left off on our magical visit in the French Alps, staying on the shoreline of Lake Annecy. As we neared the end of our France road trip, we had a hefty day of car riding ahead of us as we looped back up to Paris. With only a single day to make it to the city of lights, we were eager to get going. However, there was a part of us that new we would be doing a major disservice to ourselves if we didn’t at least make a stop in Burgundy, France.
Only a couple hours outside of France, Burgundy is notorious for it’s wine country. Noted as the best wine money can by, the winemakers of this region have turned their work into an art form. From Vinepair, Burgundy is know for its terrior, which is its sense of place, “it means that when you drink a wine, you completely taste the region where the wine was made. Most simply, terroir is the concept that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality that is specific to that single vineyard.” Theres something enchanting and magical about tasting the history and story of a particular place of beauty. From pinot noir to chardonnay, the various regions of the land are used with detailed intention. Grapes are grown in various vineyards to develop the most delectable tasting wine, arguably, in the world. Yet, how, exactly, has Burgundy set itself so far above other infamous vineyards? Vintners produce their wine in remarkably small quantities, leading to high demand an even higher prices. Many of the vineyards also refuse to ship their wine as it compromises the taste and often only sell it to Michelin Star restaurants. This was the case of the winery we decided to stop at on our way passing through.
After a quick online search of various vineyards in the reasons, we quickly realize that their truly was no wrong answer. We finally settled on the well-reviewed Château de Pommard, a few minutes off the main highway south of Beaune. Focused on a ‘hands-off’ approach, the winemakers at this chateau use sustainable tactics to produce a highly sought after wine. However, the tour begins even before you approach the property. The drive into the small town is filled with picture perfect landscapes. Alternating between sunflower fields and rows upon rows of grapes, the greenery seems to extend infinitely. As we entered though the large iron gates, we meandered through the gardens before singing up for a tour.
Not surprisingly, the crowds were at a minimum at 11am in the middle of the week, so we enjoyed a tour with another couple and our guide, Loic. We began walking out through the fields and observing the various kinds of grapes. Dan and I both eagerly wanted to try the different grapes, but those money making machines weren’t up for grabs. Darnit. After walking through the aisles of deep purples and greens, we made our way to different displays on the soil used in various parts of the fields. It was intriguing to see how the layers of dirt so strongly impacted the flavors of each wine.
Next, we headed into the wine cellar where we were surrounded with barrels and bottles on every available wall. It was amazing to see how old some of the bottles were, and how the winemakers actually encouraged mold to grow on the outside of the bottles, showing it’s age. Although that was a less than appetizer, it was incredible to see the dedication in both art and time for every single bottle.
Lastly, we headed up to the highlight of the tour, the tasting room! We enjoyed various bottle of wines with croissants (duh, France) to cleanse our palate in between. Loic even demonstrated the best way to taste a wine by sucking though the teeth to pirate and swirling it through every part of the mouth. This allows all the different receivers on the tongue to experience the taste allowing for a full picture. My favorite part of he experience was learning about how each years offers such a variance to the previous’ years wine. No two bottle are alike. Due to the continuous changes of the natural world, every little factor altered the tastes of a wine. From the amount of sunlight, the nutrients in the soil, the storms the past year, each had a notable impact on the final product.
There was no way we were leaving the vineyard without a bottle of our own, so we opted for Loic’s personal favorite, a 2010 red that offered an aromatic and rich flavor. Armed with a bottle of Burgundy’s finest, we guarded it with out lives as we brought it back with us to Paris to be enjoyed on our final night of our France tour.
Do you like to visit wineries when traveling? Red or white?