Self Drive - Burgundy

7 day tour beginning in Dijon

Burgundy's Côte d'Or is without a doubt one of the world's leading fine wine producing regions. It is often said that driving from Dijon in the north to Santenay in the south along the village roads is like reading a restaurant wine list. Exclusive tastings of fine wines are married here with flavourful cuisine and dishes such as Coq au Vin, Boeuf Bourguignon, and cheeses like Brillat Savarin and l'Ami du Chamertin find their origins. Burgundy wine's spiritual headquarters at the Clos de Vougeot and the medieval village of Beaune may be visited along with less frequented sites such as the Château de Larochepot and the Cirque au Bout du Monde. The Hautes Côtes, the high slopes that lead over the hills to the Ouche valley are forgotten or neglected by most travellers, but offer stunning pastoral scenes and tranquil rural peace.

          

From the Côte d'Or, our route continues south through the Maconnais to the Beaujolais, following wine roads and country villages that seem undisturbed by the passage of time. The hilltop village of Brancion with its crumbling château and Romanesque chapel has a population of 30. Cluny, once renowned for having the largest monastic complex in Europe is today a modest well kept town with the vestiges of the once magnificent cathedral. The wines of the Maconnais – Pouilly Fuissé, Macon Clessé, Macon Viré, are delicious and worth a taste. The ‘Roches du Solutré’ is a notable prehistoric site and a lovely spot for a picnic.

In the gently rolling and sometimes dramatically pitched slopes of the Beaujolais vineyards, the image of the ideal vineyard comes to mind. Here the word picturesque is an understatement. The light and fruity wines of the Gamay grape are also reflected in the spirit of the villages where lively markets and friendly vintners share rounds of Beaujolais. After two days here to meander midst the bucolic splendour of Beaujolais, return your car in Macon and take the TGV back to Paris.

© 2014 by TASTE - all photos by Geoffrey S. Finch

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