Valérie Nourissat publishes wine-travel e-guides under her Adventure into Flavours label. She also organizes wine events with a focus on of wine education and promotion of wine culture.
Burgundy wines are among the most famous and unique wines in the world. We often associate them with the concept of terroir and are correct in that correlation, because Burgundy is all about that sense of “place.”
For me, terroir provides wine with identity relative to the place or region it comes from, the weather and types of soil, which is then expressed through people, their winemaking philosophies and traditions. But in Burgundy the concept has even deeper meaning. Here we speak of Climats and Lieux-dits, which refers to the contribution of men and women who have observed the soils and the regionally unique microclimates over the past 2000 years.
If you want to understand this region, the best way to do it, from my point of view, is to go there and travel the “Burgundy Trail.” You will want to start with the 60 kilometer long Route des Grands Crus , where you will find world-famous wine houses such as Clos Vougeot, Romanée Conti, Corton Charlemagne… and the list goes on.
Just so you know, Burgundy is much more than the Route des Grands Crus, which takes in the Côte de Nuits (primarily red wine) and Côte de Beaune (primarily white wine) regions, but also includes Chablis in the north, and Côte Chalonnaise and Maconnais further South toward Lyon.
There are many great small growers in Burgundy. Here are some examples of passionate winemakers who all work in respect of nature and do a wonderful job!
Jane et Sylvain
9 Rue du Chêne, 21220 Gevrey-Chambertin, France
+33 3 80 34 16 83 - firstname.lastname@example.org
4 hectares, certified 100% organic since 2003
Jane and Sylvain is the story of Sylvain, a Parisien, who fell in love with a girl from Burgundy, Jane. Sylvain discovered that in addition to his love for Jane, he also had a passion for wine and Burgundy. When they started working together back in 1993 they decided to reduce the use of chemical products on their vines. Over time, they continued to reduce their dependence on chemicals until they became completely organic.
From Bourgogne Passetoutgrain to Gevrey Chambertin Premier Cru, their wines are very well balanced and delicious. Come and have a visit! Sylvain will be happy to spend some time with you and to tell you their story! Wines prices are very reasonable from 10 to 22 euros and of exceptional quality.
1, rue Soeur Goby, 21420 Savigny-les-Beaune, France
+33 3 80 21 52 31
This is a biodynamic, 13-hectare winery, with important holdings in Corton, Corton-Charlemagne, Savigny-lès-Beaune and Pernand Vergelesses, that has been in the hands of the de Nicolay family since 1834. Today Count and Countess Claude and François de Nicolay run the estate. Features of their winemaking include the use of whole clusters and avoidance of new oak. Their wines are exceptional, elegant and a pure reflection of the terroir. Moreover, it is possible to spend the night at their estate. Their house and garden are enchanting and well worth a visit.
For more information, visit their website.
23 rue de la gare, 21190 Nantoux-Meursault, France
+33 3 80 26 03 13
Didier is one of Burgundy’s pioneers in biodynamic wines! From age 12, he knew he wanted to become a winemaker and over time was attracted to making wines in a more natural way. He grew up in a wine family, but his father had no interest in organic practices. So when the time came, Didier went in this direction on his own. For five years he looked for a vineyard and was able to purchase the first one in 1984 in the village where he grew up. Today Didier Montchovet has 13 hectares of vines and, in my opinion, his wines simply must be tried! I loved everything I tasted and the story behind the Didier wines. Being there allows you to get caught up in the emotion of the wine and the story behind it.
Another great stop along the way is Caveau de Puligny in Côte-de-Beaune.
1, rue de Poiseul, 21190 Puligny-Montrachet, France
+33 3 80 21 96 78
Still a young man in his 30s, Julien Wallerand is originally from the north of France and son of the ex head-sommelier at Caveau de Puligny in Côte-de-Beaune. Today Julien is the owner of that restaurant and he is proud of the fact that he annually tastes about 2,000 wines from throughout the region. From this impressive number, he selects “the best wines of Burgundy.” As a result, his restaurant is a must-visit when exploring the “Burgundy Trail,” if you want to discover a range of wines from different boutique growers assembled in one place. You will also want to hear the many stories that Julien shares with his guests. During the summer months, Julien opens the terrace and the staff can propose small bites to enhance your tasting.
Have a great trip!