Route Des Grands Crus
The Elysian Fields ... of Burgundy!
When it comes to Burgundy, the discourse inevitably shifts on wines. It could not be otherwise, given that precisely in these lands are produced the finest ones in all of France; together with the Bordeaux region, of course. The whites are the master; it is no coincidence, in fact, that here one of the most famous vines of the whole world is native: the Chardonnay!
La Route Des Grand Crus, is an official itinerary, created in 1995, for a stretch of over 60 km from Dijon to Santenay. It is located in the so-called "Cote d'Or"Whose name derives from the golden color that the vineyards take in the autumn. The itinerary includes well 37 cities or villages, among which stand out names of absolute prestige like Beaune, Chambolle-Musigny e Vosne-Romanée; right here, the wonderful Romanée-Conti is produced, one of the most expensive wines in the world!
It is an itinerary to do on the road, maybe by motorbike. Set yourself up with the idea of stopping in every village that you like the most; from the smallest and most unknown to the famous one, because everyone will know how to conquer you. Along the way, cellars, vines, and lodgings, they are excellently identified by special bordeaux signs with the symbol of grapes.
Photo, 2013 Arnaud25
The ideal period for the Route Des Grands Crus, is certainly between September and October. The advice, in any case, is to avoid the coldest months. The last part of the journey from Beaune in Santenay it can be approached by bike, thanks to the presence of the cycle path.
To meet the wine tourists, the "carta de vigne en cave" has been drawn up for sale in tourist offices. It contains over 300 addresses of producers, wine shops, shopkeepers, individual vignerons or cooperatives that display the same brand. Once the card is found, it will be enough to knock on the door to be greeted warmly; guests can FREE at least taste a wine and will be started to discover the vine, the aromas, the aromas and the various "appellations". Guests can purchase the bottles they want (usually at least 3).
The first part of the itinerary is the one that covers the area of the Côte de Nuits: Pinot Noir is the lion's share, especially in the area to the north. Left the beautiful DIGIONE, between Marsannay e Fixinn, are probably the best wines of the Grand Crus for quality / price.
Photo, 2015 Fredibouille
Not far away, it is reached Gevray-Chambertin, the largest town in the area, as well as the first municipality to receive authorization, in the 1847, to associate its name with that of the most famous vineyard, Chambertin. Clos De Beze, "Domain" by Pierre Damoy (pictured) is the ideal starting point for the Route Des Grands Crus. Right in the stretch between Gevray e Moray-Saint-Denis, 9 of the 24 are the most renowned vineyards of the whole group Côte de Nuits! We find this way Ruchottes, Mazis, Clos de Bèze, Chambertin e Latricières and, between the road and the plain below, Chapelle, Griotte, Charmes and Mazoyères.
The next one Bonnes-Mares, is a small village dating back to the twelfth century, today established for the presence of a Grand Crus, elegant and refined like that of Chambolle-Musigny. The stage in which we intend to stop is the village of Vougeot that thanks to the presence of the historic Chateau is now, by many, considered almost a must! Precisely in this place you will find atmosphere and timeless charm.
The Castle of Clos de Vougeot, built in the twelfth century, is a great place to be introduced to the wine and wine culture of Burgundy. A historic place, where you can taste wines of excellent workmanship. Inside you will also find four large presses, in very good condition. The place is definitely worth visiting. For info consult the official website.
Vosne-Romanée it is a name of sure prestige that you will meet before Beaune. However, we want to invite you to a stop at Flagey-Echezeaux; it is a small village that lives in the shadow of Vosne-Romanée but boasts the presence of two excellent Grand Crus. To the Domain Coquard Loison Fleurot, you will find welcome and professionalism from 5 generations. Here, 12 is produced Appellations of the Côte de Nuits of prestige. Or, go to the Pont Chevalier-Gilly, where you can taste excellent wines surrounded by greenery among trees over a hundred years old.
Photo, 2012 Michal Osmenda
Vosne-Romanée is a French municipality of just 429 anime. What makes this village unique is the presence of one of the oldest wineries in the international scene. It is about Romanée-Conti, which produces the most expensive wines in the world, all based on Pinot Noir. Today, this area is a destination for tourists and enthusiasts who come here to toast and celebrate the "myth".
A Nuit-Saint Georges The Côte de Nuits tour ends. It starts from the mountain of Corton where it begins Côte de Beaune with the first two Grands Crus; Corton Rouge e Corton-Charlemagne. Corton Rouge, where around 30 vineyards are gathered, is the largest name of the whole Côte d'Or, entirely dedicated to Pinot Noir. Charlemagne, named in honor of the homonymous emperor, is the first in the area occupied by the Chardonnay.
The small fortified city of Beaune, deserves to be visited in full. We recommend staying at least two days and one night in what has been, until the 14th century, the habitual residence of the Dukes of Burgundy. Beaune it is rightly considered the capital of the wines of Burgundy.
A handful of kilometers away you get to Pommard, one of the most important centers of the Côte de Beaune. Just entering the small town, you return to breathe again the typical winegrowing air of the Route Des Grands Crus. Here the part of the lion is still the Pinot Noir, a prevalent variety of AOC produced in the area. 27 are the "climats" produced in this area, and listing them all would be really impossible. Consult the official website for more information about wineries and producers in this area.
Photo, 2009 Mpmpmp
Passed the village of Pommard, the road starts to climb up to reach Volnay. From here you can enjoy a magnificent view of all the vineyards and the valley (see photo above). Take a look: really wonderful!
And the next is just as wonderful Meursault. A municipality of around 1600 inhabitants, which marks the starting point of the so-called Côte des Blancs; it is the temple of the most prestigious white wines and in which the Chardonnay finds its maximum exaltation. A little curiosity. Meursault was used in the 1966 as a location for the Robert Dorfmann film "Three Men in Escape "(Original title: La Grande Vadrouille), an extraordinary French comedy. The lack of Grand Crus in this area does not detract from the goodness of the AOC produced here. The Premier Crus of Meursault have nothing to envy to the neighbors Chassagne-Montrachet o Puligny Montrachet, last places and the final part of an absolutely unique journey.
Impossible to make an estimate of the duration of the Route des Grands Crus tour. It depends almost exclusively on how much you have available, and on the type of itinerary you intend to do. Much, then, depends on your tastes and your habits; you might prefer a "touch and go" or stop to contemplate nature with a glass of wine in hand. We could recommend 5 days, a week, or even more. We only recommend having fun, tasting and tasting how delicious the Burgundy can offer.
For all information concerning the Route Des Grands Crus, it is available the official site of the Côte d'Or; you will find all the info, the cellars and the producers.