Wine lovers’ pilgrimages are often to Bordeaux in the southwest of France. But the region of Bourgogne (French for Burgundy), between Paris and Lyon, has a lot to offer to those who enjoy great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as delectable food and a genuine, country-style art-de-vivre. Here is what to look for this coming autumn.
Wine Drinking Thrills
If there is one road to follow in Bourgogne, it is the Route des Grands Crus. This 60km long stretch is formed by dozens of pathways taking you through the best appellations and vineyards. You travel through superb landscapes, hills and villages, like Aloxe-Corton, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Vosne-Romanee and Gevrey-Chambertin. Wine estates pop up around large, countryside houses, however Bourgogne does not offer much in the way of cellar doors, like in Australia, nor has dedicated staff for visits: in most cases you need to make an appointment or be introduced by a specialist. Need it be said, as you drink wine along the way, it is best is to be driven.
In Bourgogne, wine events are plentiful, especially in autumn. One of them is the Independent Winemakers’ Fair in October: with 60 estates represented and more than 300 wines from Bourgogne and Jura, this is a rare chance to find hidden gems and future star winemakers. A month later, the famous Beaune Auctions is the mecca for wine collectors and auction bidders. Last year a record-high €6.3 million of sales was achieved. And if you explore further, many wine fairs are set up in small villages of the Burgundian countryside, offering a genuine and authentic taste of the local lifestyle.
Gastronomy, Sightseeing and Music
In pure wine and food pairing tradition, Bourgogne is also famous for its gastronomy. Inspirations can be found at the International Food & Wine Fair in November. With 600 exhibitors presenting local terroir products, famous chefs demonstrating culinary performances and multiple tasting stands, this is a heaven for the visitor’s palate. This year Portugal is the country of honour and wines of Douro will join the party.
Sightseeing in Bourgogne is for the curious traveller, the one who doesn’t just stop in front of a monument but steps inside to discover and learn all about heritage and cultural meanings. The region has many historical treasures, many of which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage, such as Fontenay, the oldest Cistercian abbey. And now the “climats” of Burgundy vineyards are aiming to be UNESCO-protected as well.
Music is also another way to enjoy Bourgogne, as the region is considered one of the prominent musical centres of France. Harvests are always accompanied by jazz music, like the Beaune Jazz Festival in September. The Festival Awaranda, held in September in the South of Burgundy near Macon (known for Pouilly Fuisse wines), welcomes bands from Colombia, Bulgaria and other countries, and hosts Celtic bagpipe performances and a guitar contest. And the Tribu Festival Dijon will feature this year the vibrant Thomas de Pourquery Supersonic, ambiance musician Wang Li of China and the American jazz multi-instrumentalist Kahil El Zabar & The Magic Orchestra.
Dates for Your Calendar
13 September: Awaranda Music Festival, Iguerande
14-15 September: Beaune Jazz Festival, Beaune
19-28 September: Tribu Festival, Dijon
17-19 October: Independent Winemakers Fair, Dijon
31 October - 11 November: International Food & Wine Fair, Dijon
14-16 November: Beaune Auctions, Beaune
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