Gevrey-Chambertin, France

Photo: Les Deux Chèvres
Photo: Les Deux Chèvres

It’s just after sunrise in Gevrey-Chambertin. Fog still hovers over the grape vines. Drops of water drip from the thick-skinned, practically black grapes. The leaves, which have turned red and gold, are starting to crinkle with the cooler fall temperatures. Church bells ring in the distance. While sunlight is just beginning to seep through the wooden shutters in your room. Good morning, Burgundy.

You’re staying at Les Deux Chèvres, a small hotel in the heart of wine country. Your room may have antique furniture, but a rainfall shower and an incredibly comfortable bed are the perfect modern touches. Stone walls, wooden beams, and a wine press have been meticulously restored throughout the property. A vintage chart details wine production over 100 years, beginning in 1863. Even the artwork focuses on the area’s precious Pinot Noir grape. Plus there are vineyard views in every direction.

There’s absolutely no rush this morning. You cross the gravel courtyard to the main building, where a continental breakfast is served. After eating buttery croissants, local cheese, and fresh fruit, you finish your coffee on the terrace and stare at the vines across the stone wall. Limestone hills stand in the distance. A wine maker lives next door. While you wonder what the acceptable time is to begin tasting the actual wine.

Photo: N. Preseault

Gevrey-Chambertin is part of the Côte de Nuits, a small area that produces some of Burgundy’s best wines. Of the region’s 33 Grand Crus—the highest wine classification—24 are produced in the Côte de Nuits and eight are found right in Gevrey-Chambertin. The Romans first planted vines here in the 1st century BC. Catholic monks established many of the vineyards during the Middle Ages. People around the world now covet the deep, fruit-flavored wine that can be cellared for more than 20 years.

You spend the next few days exploring Dijon and Beaune, while drinking as much wine as possible. Dijon is famous for its historical buildings—Medieval and Renaissance—and mustard. The smaller, walled city of Beaune is known for the Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune (a Gothic hospital) and numerous tasting rooms, including the self-guided Marché aux Vins. In between them, the Route des Grands Crus is lined with little villages and endless vineyards. Make appointments for tastings in Nuits-Saint-Georges, Chambolle-Musigny, and Morey-Saint-Denis. The hard part will be deciding which Grand Crus to bring home.

Back at Les Deux Chèvres, you return to the terrace to relax with a glass of wine as the sun sets. Maybe a glass of white Burgundy after a day of intense Pinot Noirs. Later you walk into town for dinner at traditional Chez Guy or more modern Bistrot Lucien. You eat poached eggs à la meurette and beef cheeks that have been braising for hours, while you try not to drink your bottle of Premier Cru—the second-highest classification—right away. But it’s so hard to let it breathe. By the final glass, it’s just starting to really open. Your wine palate will never be the same.

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