At Home in Beaune and Bourgogne

As a 21-year-old study abroad student, I experienced my first wine moment during an overnight stay in Beaune, the heart of Bourgogne. In autumn 2021, Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB) hosted a writing colleague, Cindy Rynning, and me for their first press trip since the pandemic began.

Day 1 Upon arrival, I felt at home. Our hotel, Le Cèdre Hostellerie & Spa, was both traditional and contemporary in design, with a lounge bar and fireplace, charming rooms, and complimentary breakfast. We enjoyed walking around historic Beaune at night and dining at Les Pôpiettes.

Day 2 We began with an immersive tasting class at the BIVB’s school of wine, taught by our guide for the trip, wine ambassador, Steve Bobès, followed by lunch at Auprès du Clocher in Pommard. After photos in Volnay, we visited Domaine Michel Prunier et Fille in Auxey-Duresses. Fifth-generation winemaker Estelle Prunier gave us a cellar tour and guided us through an intimate tasting. She and her father, Michel, own a 30-acre estate spanning multiple appellations. We returned to Beaune for dinner at Le Cheval Noir. 

Day 3 Our first full day of Bourgogne winery visits awaited us with a start at Domaine Comte Liger-Belair in Nuits-Saint-Georges. In 2001, Thibault Liger-Belair, the ninth generation of his family to work in the wine industry, assumed ownership of the 20-acre estate and became the family’s first winegrower. He implemented organic and biodynamic farming, and makes 15 cuvées from the villages of Vosne-Romanée, Flagey-Echezeaux, Nuits-Saint-Georges, and Vougeot. After lunch at Le Millésime in Chambolle-Musigny, we stopped at Domaine des Beaumont in Morey-Saint-Denis for a tasting with seventh-generation wine producers Thierry and Vincent Beaumont, who make wines from their 15-acre estate. “Whether in the Village, Village Premier Cru, or Grand Cru, Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin, or Morey-Saint-Denis, our wines will seduce you with expressive fruit, elegance, and ethereal harmonies,” they shared. After an unexpected side trip to the “the spiritual fountain head” of Bourgogne wines, Château du Clos de Vougeot, we finished at Maison Dufouleur Frères in Nuits-Saint-Georges with Jean Dufouleur. In 1848, Symphorien Dufouleur founded the family business, which continued for six generations. The château has been part of the family since 1912, and the company under its current name since 1932. Three cousins, Jean, François-Xavier, and Marc, now manage the Maison, which offers a broad range of wines, including Nuits-Saint-Georges, Mercurey, and Clos Vougeot. We worked up an appetite for our dinner in Beaune at La Table du Square.

Day 4 We began with an early stop at Domaine Arnoux Père et Fils in Chorey-lès-Beaune. At Home in Beaune Bourgogne 13 Beaune with our host, Audrey Arnoux. The family has been farming and making wine here for generations, and now owns 50 acres in the villages of Chorey-lès-Beaune, Savigny-lès-Beaune, Aloxe-Corton, Beaune, and Pernand-Vergelesses. After a comprehensive tasting, we made a quick detour to Fromagerie Gaugry to sample some of Bourgogne’s finest cheeses, then arrived for lunch at Bistrot Lucien in Gevrey-Chambertin. After lunch, we tasted with Romain Taupenot of Domaine Taupenot-Merme in Morey-Saint-Denis. He and his family are the ninth generation to farm the 32-acre estate, which spans 20 designations AOCs in the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. His Domaine Taupenot-Merme Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru is one of his most sought-after wines. After another surprise stop at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, we concluded at Domaine Bonnardot in Villers-la-Faye, the center of the Hautes Côtes de Nuits, with Danièle Bonnardot, proprietor and winemaker since 2009. She is the fourth generation to farm the Domaine’s 55 acres in the Hautes Côtes de Nuits and Nuits-Saint-George, which she has transitioned to organic and sustainable farming. “Our Estate is above all a family adventure,” she said. We returned to Beaune for dinner at La Maufoux. 

Day 5 We enjoyed an exclusive tour and tasting at Maison Louis Latour. The Maison dates back to 1768 when Jean Latour moved to Aloxe-Corton and launched the business in 1797. Eleventh-generation Louis-Fabrice Latour manages the Maison’s 119 acres, including Bourgogne’s largest ownership of Grand Cru vineyards. The Maison makes diverse wines readily available in the United States at all price points. Our final stop was Domaine Jean Chartron in the esteemed village of Puligny-Montrachet. Fifth generation viticulturist Anne-Laure Chartron hosted us for a tasting and tour of the family’s Clos de Chevaliers-Montrachet. Her brother, Jean-Michel, is the winemaker. Together they cultivate and craft some of the finest Chardonnays in Bourgogne. We toasted to a successful trip with lunch at Le Montrachet. During the trip, Cindy kept saying she had never seen me so happy. Of course, what she witnessed was me falling in love with Beaune and Bourgogne, my French home.