Directional signpost with multiple arrows pointing toward various French towns, set against a backdrop of a rural landscape with cloudy skies, leading to locations for a Burgundy wine tasting tour.

My whirlwind, wine tasting frenzy through Burgundy and Champagne

 White line illustration of a grapevine with clusters of grapes and detailed leaves

Feb 17

8:10 am Landed at Charles de Gaulle.

9:10 am Through passport control and find Metro ticket purchase line, which is loooong. Stand in line for at least 30 minutes.

10 am On Metro train RER B line heading towards Saint-Remy with my 2 suitcases. I do not speak French, so am nervous and paying close attention to reading the names at each stop. Make it to Denfert-Rochereau and walk over to Metro line 6 (not so easy going up and down all the stairs with my luggage) and get on another Metro train heading towards Nation. I get off at Bercy.

11:30 am Make it to Bercy and see Gordon and his son, Pete (They arrived the day before and stayed the night in Paris). Phew! Run to board the train with the guys and the train begins to move before I’ve taken 2 steps. Barely made it. Take the train to Dijon.

2:30 pm Get to Dijon and rent a car. Drive to Beaune.

3:15 pm Arrive in Beaune at my Airbnb. Gordon and Pete head to their hotel nearby and we plan to meet in the evening for dinner. Jeanne Marie de Champs gave me a call. She checks in with me and asks if I’ve ever been to Beane before. (I hadn’t.) She tells me she’s going to pick me up and give me a personal tour tomorrow afternoon. I quickly get my luggage unpacked and head out for a quick bite. I find a deli called Boucherie Charcuterie and eat the most delicious prosciutto and quiche as I stroll through town.

7:30 pm The most heavenly dinner with a 2016 Meursault-Perrières Premier Cru and 2014 Vosne-Romanée Les Rouges Du Dessus Premier Cru.

11pm After being awake for so many hours, I sleep well.

February 18

11am I wake after sleeping for 12 hours! I don’t recall ever having slept that long. I quickly shower since I’m supposed to be meeting Gordon and Peter for “breakfast” at noon.

12 pm Dine at Le Maufoux. Another decadent meal with a 2020 Puligny-Montrachet.

2 pm I finally come face to face with Jeanne Marie de Champs. She picks me up outside of Hotel Le Cep (right next to the place I’m staying) and I hop into her car as she whisks me away. She shows me what each plot of land is on each rolling hill. Meursault, Pommard, Chassagne-Montrachet, Montrachet, Auxey-Duresses. My tour lasts for 3 hours as she tells me how the vines are pruned, problems from climate change, why most of the villages signs were upside down (farmer’s protesting), how some domaines are using green and brown bottles for their wines from a glass shortage due to Covid plus having to lower the energy usage because of the war in Ukraine, the different soils with clay, or rocks, or iron, or limestone, or flint, or granite. So much wonderful information. I remember seeing the vineyards for Domaine Lamarche and how excited I was. She drops me off at my place and says to come to her house for dinner and she will cook for me. An intimate homecooked meal with Jeanne Marie?! Absolutely.

7:30 pm Dinner at Jeanne Marie’s. She makes a simple, delicious meal. Endive with creamy cheese, baguette, butternut squash soup and chicken served with Paul Chollet Crémant Oeil de Perdrix and 2019 Chorey-Les-Beaune. We talk more intimately at her home, and I have a wonderful time. She lives near the Notre Dame de Beaune and it was absolutely breathtaking on my nighttime stroll “home” for bed.

February 19-22

So. Much. Tasting. (I may or may not have practiced spitting in the shower before this trip.) We would visit 5 domaines each morning, stop for lunch (I recall enjoying a Puligny-Montrachet, 2017 Aloxe-Corton and 2017 Grand Cru Pouilly-Fuissé “Les Perrières”) then visit another 5 domaines each afternoon. At each domaine we would taste 10-20 wines. We went all over Bourgogne and Maconnais Beaujolais. I had limited time in France since I had to get back to my students so couldn’t make it up to Loire. So, Jeanne Marie had the Loire brought to me. One day while we were out tasting, she had sent one of her assistants to Loire to get wine. We get to her office after tasting all day, and taste even more through the evening. I was so exhausted. I filled my journal with notes on each wine from all the domaines so I wouldn’t forget a thing.

Evening of February 22

After our last day of tasting with Jeanne Marie de Champs, Gordon, Pete, and I headed to Champagne (Avize). We arrived at the wonderful historic post office which Nina Dubois (daughter of Hervé Dubois) had renovated into an Airbnb. We had the entire upstairs unit and enjoyed ourselves in the tasting bar below. (Lots of Champagne Hervé Dubois, delicious foods and Gordon opened a bottle of Domaine Philippe Livera 2020 Côte de Nuits-Villages.)

February 23

Spent the morning at Champagne Hervé Dubois tasting and touring their cellar. Nina is now the 4th generation making delicious sparkling wine. Will tell you more about their domaine when their champagne arrives on the container!

After lunch with Nina and Hervé, I said goodbye to them, plus Gordon and Pete. I then travel solo on a train to Paris.

I drop my luggage off at the hotel. I have a couple hours before dinner, so I quickly walk around the Louvre and sightsee as much as I can. I then headed back to the hotel to get ready for a fabulous evening. I met with Olivier from Le Mesnil at Vaudeville restaurant, and we talked about business over dinner. It was perfect! Had a lovely walk back to the hotel and slept well.

February 24

Went out for my last French breakfast before heading to the airport and back home.

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