Marsannay-la-Côte: three times the pleasure
At the gates of Dijon, Marsannay opens the Route des Grands Crus de Bourgogne. Welcome to a landscape of soft curves, where vineyards run in close rows from villages to villages. This is a land where the plots surrounded by old dry stone walls are called clos (enclosures), and where beautiful castles like to leapfrog up the hills. With its double vaulted cellars, Marsannay’s cellar is a good place to start on the route—especially since the appellation is the exception of the vineyards in Burgundy, producing red, white and rosé!
Castle of Marsannay
Gevrey-Chambertin: the famous vintages
At the end of the Lavaux valley, Gevrey-Chambertin is the village of nine Grands Crus and 26 first vintages. Known worldwide, the small town didn't let fame change it—it's still peacefully wrapped around its Romanesque church and medieval castle. To get a look at the town's panorama, you have to take the high path, just behind the vineyards. It is worth a look!
Clos de Vougeot: a jewel of the vineyards
A majestic castle crowned with a roof of glazed tiles, standing like an islet planted in the middle of the vineyards. You can see it from a distance, and approach the awe-inspiring portal of this mythical enclosure with a little thrill. This is the den of the knights of Tastevin, a venerable brotherhood of 12,000 ambassadors of Burgundy all over the world. The old grape presses, the wine cellar and the large cellar set the scene as it was in the 12th century, under the motto: “Jamais en vain, toujours en vin” (“Never in vain, always in wine”).
Vosne-Romanée : the ultimate nectar
You could almost miss this vineyard (and what a shame if you did)! A simple sign in the shape of a crucifix by the side of the road indicates one of the most treasured grape plots in the world, that of the domain Romanée-Conti. It is there, on 1.8 hectares (4.5 acres), that the most expensive and most famous red wines on the planet are born. The secret of this nectar with aromas of rosehips and rose petals? Its climate, its land which enjoys perfect exposure and the work of the winemakers that has improved the wine over the centuries.
The small town that gives its name to the famous Côte de Nuits deserves a stop, and not only because it is the cradle of some of the world’s greatest red wines. Nuits-Saint-Georges also welcomes the Imaginarium, an institution meant to teach all about the vineyard world by having fun, and the Cassissium, a place dedicated to cassis, the black gold of Burgundy. In this interactive museum, the Burgundy reveals itself to visitors.
Beaune: the capital city
Along the road, bell towers and castles sporting beautiful glazed roof tiles foreshadow those of the Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune. A jewel of flamboyant Gothic architecture, this polychrome roof announces the slendor of what's inside, like the la grande salle des Pôvres, the chapel and the kitchen of this medieval hospital, a treasure of Burgundy. Its reputation is also due to the nectars of the winery, which are sold at auction every November under the market.
Pommard: the destination for red-wine drinkers
When one thinks of red wine, Pommard is a name that first comes to the lips, a name evocative of a village and an iconic vineyard of Burgundy where Pinot Noir reigns supreme. A pleasure for the eyes as well as the tongue, Pommard is home to an 18th century castle built in front of the vineyards, boasting magnificent French-style gardens, vaulted cellars and an astonishing art gallery with exceptional cuvées and works by Dali, Picasso and Miro.
Château de Pommard
Meursault: douce France
The unjustly charming capital of the great white wines of Burgundy, with a vineyard mostly planted with chardonnay grapes, lying in the middle of the hills of a gentle slope. With its vineyard castles, its cozy houses, its great restaurants lorded over by spire of its gothic church, Meursault embodies la douce France (sweet or gentle France).
Chassagne et Puligny-Montrachet : greater than the sum of their parts
Here is a vineyard that does not deserve to be judged by its cover—it's set up on a rocky hill of a bald mountain that turns out to be a terroir of excellence in the heart of the Côte de Beaune. In this ocean of vineyards, two villages, accomplices and rivals at the same time, share the honor of producing the world’s grandest dry white wine. You're promised a delicious stay in the Château de Chassagne-Montrachet if you scoop one of their five rooms, all amazingly designed.
Domaine du château de Chassagne-Montrachet