1451 … 1451 is 563 years ago. That is the date when they opened the hospital in Beaune that we now call the Hospices de Beaune or the Hôtel Dieu.
The building is still standing and was used as a hospital and then as a home for the elderly (nursing home may sound a bit strange for such a building) until 1971. It is one of France’s most extraordinary tourist attractions. Not spectacularly grandiose, but amazing.
That is a bit like with wines from Burgundy. They are rarely spectacular or grandiose, not like those “impressive” wines you sometimes get from other districts and from other countries. Instead, Burgundy wines are subtle, elegant and sophisticated. Not something one drinks quickly in large gulps.
Burgundy is both simple and complicated. There are basically only two grapes: Chardonnay for the white wines and pinot noir for the red wines. I admit, this is a bit simplified, but not far from the truth. It can also be complicated to get to grips with due to the many appellations and all different villages name that are sometimes very confusing.
But the trickiest part of all is the growers: It is actually the name of the grower that is the most important, more important than the appellation or village that the wine comes from.
The most famous producer names are often the ones of the major negociants, wine companies rather than growers. Sometimes they are good or excellent but often the wines tend to be a bit bland. Unfortunately, perhaps, it is often their wines we see among Burgundy wines in most major wine retailers. But since a few years back or perhaps a decade, it has started to change. Now there is much more exciting to try on the Burgundy shelves. That is a good place to start exploring Burgundy.
But if you want really to discover what Burgundy has to offer then you should go there, drive around the vineyards, talk to winemakers, and of course taste the wines.
The Burgundian landscape is a beautiful mix of green, rolling hills, vineyards everywhere and charming small villages.
There are plenty of restaurants here too. Burgundy is sometimes called the belly of France. For a reason. It’s definitely not just snails … Beef of the highest quality, perhaps France’s widest range of local cheese, and much more.
We have just published a new travel program for the autumn wine and food tour to Burgundy. This tour is available as a scheduled tour on our Scandinavian wine tour program and proposed as a custom wine tour in English.
We take you along to some of the best producers in Burgundy, not always the most famous names or internationally most well-known names perhaps. But that’s not what Burgundy is about. And there will be many wonderful opportunities to explore how the Burgundy wines pairs with the Burgundian food. Excellent! I can promise you that. And there will be a lot of old wine cellars as well. Although perhaps no one from 1451.
Take a look at the wine tour program to Burgundy!