August 30, 2014
This morning I ventured over to the charming walled town of Beaune (a quick five
minute drive from my house), determined to experience the regionally famous Saturday
morning outdoor market. I quickly confirmed that the reputation was well-earned: a
wide array of cheeses, sausages, fruits, vegetables, knives, ancient wine equipment,
battle axes, roasted chickens, barbequed pig heads, books, clothing, beef, olives and
breads could be found. I picked out three cheeses (Delices de Pommard, le comte, and
emmental), a black-pepper encrusted saucisson, and a large loaf of bread.
I met up with a couple winemaking friends and we drove north to Gevry-Chambertin to
see another UC Davis winemaking colleague. The four of us enjoyed a fine picnic lunch
with a bottle of white Burgundy in a local park which appeared to also be the backyard
play area for a pair of inquisitive five year old lads.
Afterwards we naturally went in search of wine tastings. The first visit was quite
interesting. Instead of sitting down for a tasting we were directed go down and have
a look in the wine caves and museum. They indeed did have beautiful caves (with
thousands of stacked bottles of wine) but it was the museum which was far more
extensive and eclectic than I would have imagined—tunnels filled with antique wine
and vineyard equipment, a beautiful outcrop wall of native limestone; these might be
expected. But it was the crossbows, knives, full sized stuffed horses, cows, and deer
pot stills, wagons, statues and motor bikes that I would not have anticipated in a wine
cellar setting. When we finally tasted the wines, we were introduced to many Gevrey-
Chambertin vineyards which I had never tasted; all quite distinct.
We managed one more tasting which was more traditional and the wines were better
in my opinion. More premier cru along with one grand cru. The La Romanee Gevry-
Chambertin premier cru (not to be confused with the grand cru of Vosne-Romanee) was
We returned to Beaune and had a delightful, French style multi-hour dinner at our
gracious friend from New Zealand’s flat near the Hotel-Dieu. Et voila, that was a
Saturday in Burgundy.