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My travel group, and I hiding in the back, at the vineyards of Romanee Conti.

Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France – For any real oenophile is there anything better than starting your day in one of the premier wine regions in the world? Or starting your day in a wine cellar built in 1692 sipping Burgundy?

Debate among yourselves but that’s how my eight Burgundy tour participants and I started our week Monday morning at the north end of Burgundy just south of Dijon. Monday’s story is probably best told in my photos from the day.

The group got its first lesson in Burgundy appellations and more Sunday afternoon with Pierre. (see previous post.) But Monday we all got a first-hand education in the Côte de Nuits region.

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Chateaux Clos Vougeot

We started our day at one of the icons of Burgundy Clos Vougeot. The historic Chateau and property showcases the history of Burgundy wine. Whether one cares to think of the Romans or the Cistercian the monument is a living history lesson.

After alter an hour at Clos Vougoet learning the history and seeing the huge old wine presses, it was off to our first morning tasting at Marchand Tawse.

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Guillame led us through the Marchand Twase wines.

The wine caves and tasting room in Nuits Saint George is how we kick-started our wine tasting in the caves of the old property. Current ownership is two Canadian business men but the cellars date back to the 15th and 16th century.

They make a wide range of Pinot and Chard from many different appellations. I think it’s fair to say our group found the wines solid and an interesting start to our day.

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Lunch at Petite Auberge

At mid-day we had another highlight meal, this time at La Toute Petite Auberge in Vosne-Romanee. It might be called a wine-tasting lunch. We were served up a plate of Burgundian specials like snails, Oeufs en meurette (an egg poached in a red wine sauce), pressed ham, and some small sausages in a pastry wrap. One white and three red wines were poured with lunch.

The highlight for many of us the past two days has been discovering another regional product, cassis. The dark, rich berry is delicious on its own. Our lunch concluded with a Cassis Tiramasu. There were gasps at the table!

After lunch we really enjoyed a ride through the countryside seeing the vineyards. We made a brief stop at the vineyard of Romanee Conti. For those who may not recognize the significance of that, Romanee Conti is probably the most expensive wine in the world. Their wines are impossible to acquire and hit the market anywhere from $8,000-$13,000 a bottle. It was fun seeing this bit of Burgundy lore; we took a group shot.

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Francois Leclerc talking about his vineyards.

Our final stop of the day was nearly unanimous among the group the best wines of our trip thus far. Domaine Rene’ Leclerc in Gevrey Chambertin was a lot of fun. Rene Leclerc has retired and turned the winery over to his son Francois who gave us a tour and led the tasting.

The younger Leclerc was a fun guy leading us through the caves, dating to the 1400s, talking about his different vineyards and pouring the great Pinot Noir. The uniqueness of this tasting is that all four bottles poured were Gevrey Chambertin wines but from different parts of the region  (or AOC). The group thought Leclerc’s wines were some of the best of our trip. I agreed!

Today (Tuesday), we are off to visit two of the top Domaines in all of Chablis – William Fevre and Billaud-Simon.

Au Revoir.

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