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A week in Burgundy – Day 1

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Started the first day in Burgundy with an early visit at Domaine Castagnier in Morey Saint Denis at 09:00 am. I found myself ringing the bell for couple of minutes without an answer and I was joined by a group of 3 Swiss guys that were scheduled for the same 9:00 am visit. Visit started shortly when the host arrived by car and invited all of us for a tour in the winery. It seems that Saint Moritz is a strong market for expensive Burgundy thanks to a large number of Russian tourists that come to ski. No surprise there.

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There are 2 separate labels here: one for wines produced from the vineyards owned labelled as Domaine Castagnier and another for the negoce business started only a few years ago labelled as SARL Jerome Castagnier produced from rented vineyards located in some of the most sought after appellations: Chevalier Montrachet, Corton-Charlemagne, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureueses, Echezeaux, Chambertin Clos de Beze, Bonnes Mares. We tasted only the 2015 vintage from barrels that shows impressive potential.

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2015 is looking to be an excellent vintage for Burgundy, most of the wines just starting to finish the malolactic fermentation in barrels. They show structure, flesh and acidity in the right amounts to promise a long aging potential and complex aromatics.

Tasted about 10 wines during the 2 h visit here but sadly lost my tasting notes for the properties visited on Day 1. From memory the wines tasted: Bourgogne, Morey Saint Denis 1er cru aux Cheseaux, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru, Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru,  Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Les Cazetiers, Mazy Chambertin Grand Cru.

Second producer to visit after lunch was Domaine Chicotot in Nuits Saint Georges. Tasted some 2013’s and 2014’s here with high points for Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains and Les Saint Georges 1er Cru. There is a big thing happening now in Burgundy as the vineyard Les Saint Georges is pushed to become the first Grand Cru of Nuits Saint George. It won’t happen over night but it is on everyone’s lips.

Third producer was Bernard Rion in Vosne-Romanee where some of the highlights were the 1er Cru from Nuits Saint Georges and the Grand Cru’s.

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Last visit of the day and a highlight for this week in Burgundy was Domaine Meo-Camuzet. There are 2 labels here just like for Castagnier: one labelled as Domaine Meo-Camuzet that includes the wines from the owned vineyards, and one for negoce labelled as Meo-Camuzet Frere&Soeurs with rented holdings in many appellations.

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Tasted many 2014’s that show incredible consistency, purity and clarity, with lavish texture and silky smooth tannin, very well balanced by generous and complex fruit flavors. Starting from Hautes Cotes de Nuits, Saint Romain and going to Fixin Clos de Chapitre, Marsannay, Nuits Saint Georges Les Perrieres, Nuits Saint Georges Murges, Vosne Romanee Les Chaumes, Clos Vougeot and Echezeaux. These are all amazing wines that I would love to hold in my cellar.

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Finished the day with dinner at La Maison du Colombier in Beaune where I ordered a bottle of 2012 Meo Camuzet Hautes Cotes de Nuits just to keep lingering the memory of the wines tasted during the last visit.

 

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A week in Burgundy – Foreword

May 4, 2016 2 comments

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I took a short vacation and traveled to Beaune in Burgundy with the family from 18th to 22nd April. We had a lovely time together and I also had the chance to visit some top tier producers that I will expand more on the next following posts. There are a few words to say if you, dear reader and wine lover, consider visiting this city and wine region as a family with small children.

My daughter is almost 3 so you would think she is fairly easy to integrate into a regular meal plan from any restaurant but the reality is completely different. Restaurants in Beaune are not child friendly and they usually have different service time then, at least, my daughter’s eating habits. For good restaurants the service time is 12:00 – 14:30 and 19:15 – 23:00. It’s like everybody is on vacation there, and I am not referring to tourists. The menu is usually strict and based on the day’s picks from the market according to what they say, which is fine. If it happens – as it almost always did for us – that their dishes and the kid’s taste fell in totally opposite directions, you might find yourself (I did) into a bit of a situation. So if your kid does not eat almost everything you should consider again a trip together in Beaune.

There are some things to do while traveling with kids in Beaune: there is a beautiful park (Parc de la Bouzaise) that’s great to explore, the Center has many small streets to discover and plenty of houses with stairs. Stairs seems to be the new hit for us, each stair needs to be climbed over and over again. So what appears to be a short street, might take sometimes 30-40 minutes of walking, climbing and jumping from every stair.

We stayed at Najeti Hotel De La Poste which sits on a great location, walking distance from the center where most of the restaurants are, fairly big rooms, very cozy and quiet. It is a very nice location to stay in Beaune.

Food is most of the times very good as long as you make reservations in advance and book your table. It’s funny how restaurants that are empty at 12:00 get completely full within 15 minutes. From the restaurants we dinned I would recommend:

  • Ma Cuisine in Beaune. Tasty food and menu changes everyday. A good selection of wines by the glass and an extensive wine list. I had an impressive 2009 Domaine de Comtes Lafon Meursault by the glass (15 Eur) that surprised me with its perfect balance between stony and oyster shell minerality, honey and abundant sweet fruit, staying fresh, detailed and vibrant (94/100).

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  • La Maison du Colombier. This restaurant opens at 19:00 everyday and is closed on WED and SUN. The owner is a former chef from a 2 Michelin star restaurant and runs this place together with his wife. There is an impressive wine list here and there are plenty of gems at affordable prices to drink. Menu was the same for 2 days in a row and quite limited, but tasty. There is a good selection of tapas. Had a great wine there that I discovered the same day visiting the producer: Meo Camuzet Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits Blanc 2012. This was such a lovely Chardonnay that shows plenty of tropical and stone fruits, with stony minerality, a ripe and fat palate with beautiful vibrant acidity and a finish that lingers (92/100). 55 Eur per bottle on the restaurant list and great discovery for me.

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  • if you have a car – which you should have if you want to visit wineries, I would recommend to dine at Au Clos Napoleon in Fixin. Book a table in advance on the terrace because the place gets crowded quickly. When the weather is sunny outside, the view over the vines makes it for a very enjoyable lunch. Food is also good.

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  • Another good location for food is in Morey Saint Denis, the restaurant from Castel de Tres Girard. There is a long and interesting wine list, filled with plenty of great wines and grower’s Champagne at good prices. I had a 2011 Clos des Lambrays from Magnum and a 2012 Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Domaine des Lambrays that were stunning.

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It was also my daughter’s first visit to a winery and I believe she starts on a good ground.

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I will have a few separate posts the following days about the wineries I visited and the wines I tasted – mostly 2014’s, with some unexpected surprises,  as my schedule was pretty full with about 3-4 wineries a day. It was nevertheless a great time visiting this beautiful and calm region with the family.

Other highlights of this trip were meeting Mr Steven Spurrier 2 times over 2 days at the same wineries I was visiting – what were the odds, and practicing my modest French during these visits as English is not such an international language in many cases here as one might believe.

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If you want to discover and order some wines from Burgundy I would suggest visiting real-wineboutique page.

 

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