French Wine Holidays
Everybody who loves their wine should go to Burgundy. It's ideally
located - 2 1/2 hours' drive south of
Paris and only 2 hours from Paris's Orly
The beautiful rolling countryside is some of the prettiest in France, and
the town that sits at the centre of this wine region is the Bourgogne capital
of Beaune, full of history and wine lovers.
Burgundy's cool climate produces great red wines. The church owned the
vineyards of Burgundy for nearly a thousand years until the French Revolution
in 1780, when the vineyards were sold to workers who had tended them.
Medieval village of Blanot
If you like a little history with your wine, you must visit the ancient village
of Gevrey-Chambertin, renowned for its quality wine since the 8th century. Chambertin
gets its name from a peasant named Bertan who owned the famous vineyard and
sold grapes to the monks.
Napoleon loved Chambertin so much that his troops saluted the vineyard as
they passed by. Legend has it that Napoleon always took a swig of Chambertin
wine before going into battle.
A famous white wine area in Burgundy is Corton-Charlemagne, named after King
Charlemagne. He first planted the white grapes here because his
wife wasn't happy about the stains on his beard while drinking red.
Here in Burgundy, Chardonnay is the primary grape for whites, and Pinot
Noir and Gamay for reds.
The annual wine auction in the typical French town of Beaune is "magnifique"
and the restaurants you'll find by walking down its little streets and alleyways
are full of flavoursome food.
For memorable accommodation near Beaune, try the wonderul
Hostellerie de Levernois, only a few minutes out of town. This is a Relais
and Chateaux property run by the former French head of Relais and Chateaux,
Jean-Louis Bottigliero and his wife Susanne.
Photo courtesy of Hostellerie de Levernois
Hostellerie de Levernois is set on a beautiful property with grounds, manicured
lawns and the accommodation is pure quality without being astronomically pricey.
Levernois has just opened its lunch bistro Le Bistrot in an historic outbuilding,
and the dinners in the main building at night are so mouthwatering you'll
be hard-pressed to find anything more memorable.
Try the langoustins, a little like a cross between a lobster and a prawn,
for a traditional French taste treat.
The quirky thing you'll notice in this restaurant with its Mercedes and
Ferraris parked outside is that some of the well-heeled have their well-behaved
dogs - and some them are big - under their tables.
As for the wineries, many are more production-orientated than the gracious
restaurant set-ups you'll find in Australia, New Zealand and the Napa Valley.
Spend at least a few days in this gorgeous region you won't forget