Burgundy, Beaune and wine

Burgundy always exceeds my expectations!

Beaune, the capita of the Burgundy region is just a beautiful town.

Beaune is one of the key wine centres in France. Indeed their annual wine auction is the biggest in France. One of the most fascinating buildings in Beaune is the Hospices de Beaune which was founded in 1442 by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor of the Duke of Burgundy. The Hospices were a charity running hospitals and services for the needy. The feel and style of the hospice has been recreated internally and the exterior superbly maintained.

Also known as the Hotel Dieu, it was created after a 100 year war which was particularly hard on the people of the region.

The roof tiles are set in a stunning pattern and in very good condition.

Hotel Dieu functioned as a hospital all through the period up to 1970. It was run by an order of nuns.

The main ward in the hospital.

Beds ran head to toe both sides of the ward.

The hospice had all necessary facilities including a fully functioning kitchen……

…..and a pharmacia for drug production.

And every night they have a fabulous light show on the building exterior.

Wine and viticulture dominate the region. Just beautiful scenery and so extensive. It stretches from Dijon in the north to Lyon in the south.

Burgundy is made up of a number of different areas including Chablis, Cote de Nuit, Cote de Beaune, Cote Chalonnaise, Maconnais and Beaujolais.

Its’ primary red wine is made from Pinot Noir and the white from Chardonnay. They produce just under 200 million bottles per year from 25,000 hectares of vines.

Famous names include Romanee Conti, Gevrey Chambertin, Nuit Saint George, Pommard, Pouilly Fuisse and Chablis.

It is appellation controlled with gradings of Grand Cru, Premier cru, village and regional with the best being designated Grand Cru.

Wine tastings were very, very good. Sometimes a charge is made but on all occassions very generous with plenty of explanation.

A number of wine tastings were held in caves (undergound cellars) where you go from one barrel to the next with a bottle on each barrel and a description of the wine on the wall and you help yourself…..oops I’ve poured too much vino! Great fun!

Most winemakers are small which is a welcome change from the big conglomerates. Here are a couple of the winemakers

Patrick Bize of Domaine Simon Bize et fils from Savigny-les Beaune

Gerard Quivy owner and winemaker of Les Corbeaux in Gevrey Chambertin. A Grand Cru winemaker

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