Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

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Mattstolz
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Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#1 Post by Mattstolz » September 7th, 2019, 10:49 am

Wife and I are in the beginning stages of planning our next European adventure and I'm trying to work the idea of a couple days in Lyon into the trip. For some reason I feel like tastings in the N Rhone and Burgundy just work slightly differently than other regions that we've gone (Tuscany, Bordeaux, Oregon), and I'm hoping people with some experience might be able to give me some guidance as to the best way to plan some tastings in these regions, if there are producers that are impossible to get tastings with, what to expect, etc.

Thanks for any advice! also, if this should be in travel I'm cool with that

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#2 Post by Brandon Y. » September 7th, 2019, 11:44 am

We spent two days with Bourgogne Gold Tour (out of Beaune) this past spring, and I can't recommend them highly enough. We had a hard time getting in with many of the smaller producers (vs the bigger, more commercial places), hence the reason we did the private tour. BGT takes all of the legwork out of it. They have a number of different tour packages, most focusing on grand cru and premier cru producers. It isn't cheap, but the tastings, food recommendations, education, etc made it all worth it. We tasted with 2 larger producers, but the rest of them during the two days were small operations, tasting with the wine makers themselves, which was really enjoyable.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#3 Post by Mark Y » September 7th, 2019, 12:59 pm

Brandon Y. wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 11:44 am
We spent two days with Bourgogne Gold Tour (out of Beaune) this past spring, and I can't recommend them highly enough. We had a hard time getting in with many of the smaller producers (vs the bigger, more commercial places), hence the reason we did the private tour. BGT takes all of the legwork out of it. They have a number of different tour packages, most focusing on grand cru and premier cru producers. It isn't cheap, but the tastings, food recommendations, education, etc made it all worth it. We tasted with 2 larger producers, but the rest of them during the two days were small operations, tasting with the wine makers themselves, which was really enjoyable.
can you mention which producers your did, and what were some of the other options you didn't take perhaps? would love to know more about it..
Y.e.

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#4 Post by Keith A k e r s » September 7th, 2019, 4:26 pm

Matt,

when you were in Tuscany did you do smaller producers or more of the bigger ones? If you did some small producers, Burgundy won't be *too* different. Basically you are going into someone's home, but many producers are also more than happy to have you. I would write down a list of producers (within general reason) that are at the top of you want list and just email them. Let them know how much you enjoy your wines and you will be pleasantly surprised at how accommodating they can be. Be sure to give more than a month's head time.

I would also talk with any stores where you are a regular. They should hopefully be able to help you with any distributors/importers and good things may happen that way too.

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#5 Post by Mattstolz » September 7th, 2019, 6:17 pm

Brandon Y. wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 11:44 am
We spent two days with Bourgogne Gold Tour (out of Beaune) this past spring, and I can't recommend them highly enough. We had a hard time getting in with many of the smaller producers (vs the bigger, more commercial places), hence the reason we did the private tour. BGT takes all of the legwork out of it. They have a number of different tour packages, most focusing on grand cru and premier cru producers. It isn't cheap, but the tastings, food recommendations, education, etc made it all worth it. We tasted with 2 larger producers, but the rest of them during the two days were small operations, tasting with the wine makers themselves, which was really enjoyable.
I would also be curious to know which domaines you were at during your tour!
Keith A k e r s wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 4:26 pm
Matt,

when you were in Tuscany did you do smaller producers or more of the bigger ones? If you did some small producers, Burgundy won't be *too* different. Basically you are going into someone's home, but many producers are also more than happy to have you. I would write down a list of producers (within general reason) that are at the top of you want list and just email them. Let them know how much you enjoy your wines and you will be pleasantly surprised at how accommodating they can be. Be sure to give more than a month's head time.

I would also talk with any stores where you are a regular. They should hopefully be able to help you with any distributors/importers and good things may happen that way too.
In Tuscany we were on a tour, but most of the producers were smaller family producers. I did love the tour company but I think I lucked out with the places that we got to go because I got to help decide... so I havent decided yet if thats the route I wanna go or if I just wanna try to pick some of my own!

When you say "within general reason" do you mean, don't pick too many, or don't pick DRC? If the 2nd one, I think that is part of what I was wondering. I'm assuming a DRC is not an option, but I don't know where exactly the line between "realistic" vs "not realistic" might be. is it Leroy? Hudelot-Noellat? Dujac? should I shoot lower? higher??

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#6 Post by Keith A k e r s » September 7th, 2019, 6:43 pm

Mattstolz wrote:
When you say "within general reason" do you mean, don't pick too many, or don't pick DRC? If the 2nd one, I think that is part of what I was wondering. I'm assuming a DRC is not an option, but I don't know where exactly the line between "realistic" vs "not realistic" might be. is it Leroy? Hudelot-Noellat? Dujac? should I shoot lower? higher??

Sorry for being vague, but yea it’s kinda like DRC+Leroy+Rousseau+liger-Belair.

But, you can actually get into a lot of top places with enough massaging. It’s been a few years since I’ve been, but you should be able to get into a bunch of places.

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#7 Post by William Kelley » September 8th, 2019, 9:32 am

Some advice:

- avoid trying to contact producers during the vacation and harvest: so wait until mid-October to start requesting appointments
- if you speak some French, take the time to write in French
- don't plan too many tastings a day: professionally, I sometimes do as many as five or six in a day, but one in the morning and another in the afternoon is ample for pleasure and facilitates both interesting exchanges and punctuality
- bear in mind distances even within regions: it can take 40-50 minutes to get from, say, Meursault to Gevrey-Chambertin, and it is easy to be late
- choose producers whose wines you know and like, and take the time to explain your experiences with the wines in your message: most domaines receive lots of requests and if they sense that you are a passionate client rather than someone who has just heard of their reputation, your chances will improve
- obviously, a lesser-known producer in e.g. Santenay will be easier to get a tasting at that a famous one in Vosne-Romanée, and there are plenty of estates doing terrific work that might be prepared to spend a couple of hours with you—and which might well be more interesting than some of the impossible-to-visit places. Feel free to PM me for more specific examples.

And, of course, Northern Rhône will be a lot easier than the Côte de Nuits, that's for sure.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#8 Post by Howard Cooper » September 8th, 2019, 10:37 am

This gives contact information for growers and merchants and tells who speaks English. Don't expect to see DRC listed here.

https://www.bourgogne-wines.com/our-exp ... ,9363.html

If you make an appointment somewhere, don't be late.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#9 Post by alan weinberg » September 8th, 2019, 11:56 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 10:37 am
This gives contact information for growers and merchants and tells who speaks English. Don't expect to see DRC listed here.

https://www.bourgogne-wines.com/our-exp ... ,9363.html

If you make an appointment somewhere, don't be late.
and to the small domaines bring a little gift, coffee, cheese, a bottle of a US wine, whatever.

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#10 Post by J.Vizuete » September 8th, 2019, 1:22 pm

That’s a neat piece of advice Alan, I’ll have to do so on our next visit.

I just visited Meursault for a few days in July. I found it significantly more challenging to make appointments in the Cotes de nuits than in Bordeaux, Champagne, and certainly the US. You will not have any success at all these days with the highest tiers (DRC, Rousseau, Coche); you will also have incredible difficulty with even 2nd or 3rd tiers without an industry contact. I speak a little French and inquired directly via email or website, through my hotel concierge, and through a guide.

I could not get into Bernard Moreau, Girardin, Roulot, PYCM, Lamy, Faiveley, Meo Camuzet, and a few others.

I found Chablis far easier and had no problem at William Fevre, Billaud Simon, etc. Admittedly, I started about 6 weeks out and probably should have done so earlier. William’s advice above is sound and I don’t mean to be a grey cloud, just personally ran into a lot of closed doors on our trip. Our hotel offered to arrange visits with any of several small producers in Meursault but I hadn’t heard of them before and was going for something more recognizable.

So what we did instead was great for our first trip: took a guided tour in a Jeep along the mountainside that overlooks all the vineyards in the CdN. The guide coravined glasses for my wife and I from a grand cru and premier cru vineyard as we gazed down over them. There were 5 stops, good producers and vineyards represented, and clean stems at each. The company is called Sensation Vins and while not cheap (little in Burgundy is), I thought it an exceptional overview to establish context for where these wines come from. Astonishing how close they all are as well. We plan to do the Corton tour of whites on our next trip. Feel free to PM if I can be helpful
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#11 Post by J.Vizuete » September 8th, 2019, 1:26 pm

FE87B334-DEA0-4546-8F86-76E6F53A87EE.jpeg
View of Vosne Romanee from our vantage point. Tasted at that stop:
Vosne Romanée 1er cru Les Petits Monts 2014 Domaine Forey Père et Fils
Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2016 Domaine Forey Père et Fils
Echezeaux Grand Cru 2014 Domaine Lamarche
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#12 Post by Gus Siokis » September 8th, 2019, 1:34 pm

Matt,

We just did this trip in May - our first in Burgundy and Northern Rhône. If it wasn't for some of the folks (i.e., Howard Cooper, Charlie Fu, HowaredNZ, etc.) on this board I doubt it would have been as nice as we experienced.

Depending on when you are going, we started emailing about two months prior to our visit and all in French (Google Translate works great). We were fortunate the other couple traveling with us spoke French so for those without emails we called. We did a mix of small and large producers to get a feel for the uniqueness of each. If this is your first visit to Burgundy, I would highly recommend a visit to Joseph Drouhin and Bouchard both in Beaune. The tours alone are worth it. As Keith mentioned earlier, one of places we visited in Northern Rhône, Domaine Xavier Gerard, we tasted and ate lunch in his parent's basement, met his father and mother who also made coffee for us. Fantastic experience.

I agree with William - two visits is optimal split by a very nice and long lunch. That said, we did have two days where we did three but they were very close to each other and helped with travel times by also planning a lunch in between the visits so we didn't backtrack. As Alan mentioned above, we brought a small gift as a "thank you" for allowing us to taste with them....since we live in Georgia we brought a small bag of really good Pecans. I think you live in South Carolina? Maybe a small bag of grits or heirloom rice? Don't forget to make your restaurant reservations in advance, too!

Lastly, if you have any industry contacts I would also recommend reaching out to them as well. Three of our visits came about this way for us.

Please let me know if I can answer any questions you may have.....

Gus
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#13 Post by Gus Siokis » September 8th, 2019, 1:45 pm

J.Vizuete wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 1:22 pm
That’s a neat piece of advice Alan, I’ll have to do so on our next visit.

I just visited Meursault for a few days in July. I found it significantly more challenging to make appointments in the Cotes de nuits than in Bordeaux, Champagne, and certainly the US. You will not have any success at all these days with the highest tiers (DRC, Rousseau, Coche); you will also have incredible difficulty with even 2nd or 3rd tiers without an industry contact. I speak a little French and inquired directly via email or website, through my hotel concierge, and through a guide.

I could not get into Bernard Moreau, Girardin, Roulot, PYCM, Lamy, Faiveley, Meo Camuzet, and a few others.

I found Chablis far easier and had no problem at William Fevre, Billaud Simon, etc. Admittedly, I started about 6 weeks out and probably should have done so earlier. William’s advice above is sound and I don’t mean to be a grey cloud, just personally ran into a lot of closed doors on our trip. Our hotel offered to arrange visits with any of several small producers in Meursault but I hadn’t heard of them before and was going for something more recognizable.

So what we did instead was great for our first trip: took a guided tour in a Jeep along the mountainside that overlooks all the vineyards in the CdN. The guide coravined glasses for my wife and I from a grand cru and premier cru vineyard as we gazed down over them. There were 5 stops, good producers and vineyards represented, and clean stems at each. The company is called Sensation Vins and while not cheap (little in Burgundy is), I thought it an exceptional overview to establish context for where these wines come from. Astonishing how close they all are as well. We plan to do the Corton tour of whites on our next trip. Feel free to PM if I can be helpful
John, Which Girardin? Vincent or Pierre?
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#14 Post by Jayson Cohen » September 8th, 2019, 1:45 pm

If you know people with relationships to specific domaines (at any “level”) and feel comfortable having them help you set appointments, you are more likely to (1) get in and (2) get a special experience.

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#15 Post by J.Vizuete » September 8th, 2019, 1:49 pm

Gus Siokis wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 1:45 pm
John, Which Girardin? Vincent or Pierre?
Vincent in Meursault
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#16 Post by Gus Siokis » September 8th, 2019, 1:54 pm

Personally, I would check out Pierre (son)....just released his first vintage and a ton of great press and vibe on him right now....have a case and half of his wines due in next month.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#17 Post by Brandon Y. » September 8th, 2019, 3:55 pm

Mark Y wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 12:59 pm
Brandon Y. wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 11:44 am
We spent two days with Bourgogne Gold Tour (out of Beaune) this past spring, and I can't recommend them highly enough. We had a hard time getting in with many of the smaller producers (vs the bigger, more commercial places), hence the reason we did the private tour. BGT takes all of the legwork out of it. They have a number of different tour packages, most focusing on grand cru and premier cru producers. It isn't cheap, but the tastings, food recommendations, education, etc made it all worth it. We tasted with 2 larger producers, but the rest of them during the two days were small operations, tasting with the wine makers themselves, which was really enjoyable.
can you mention which producers your did, and what were some of the other options you didn't take perhaps? would love to know more about it..
We let BGT put together the entire itinerary. All we asked was to taste primarily at places that produced some Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines. The lineup they put together over the two days was fantastic, and a great introduction to the region (while we were familiar with Burgundy wine, this was our first trip there). Forgive any inaccuracies, but here are the wines I have notes on that we tasted. About 45 or so over the two days:

Chateau De Charodon: Tasted with Louis Vallet at home cellar
Meursault, 2016
Puligny-Montrachet, 2017
Meursault 1er Cru, Les Perrieres, 2016
Gevrey-Chambertin, Les Creots, 2016
Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2016
Chambertin Grand Cru, Clos de Beze, 2015
Chambertin Grand Cru, Clos de Beze, 2011

VinoBoam: Tasted with Geremy Gateau in their storage facility surrounded by producer barrels
Domaine Long-Depaquit, Chablis La Moutonne Grand Cru, 2015
Vincent Girardin, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru, Clos des Caillerets, 2012
Domaine Albert Grivault, Meursault 1er Cru, Perrieres, 2014
Roche de Bellene, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru, Chabiots, 2016
Domain de Bellene, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Vieilles Vignes, 2013
Domain de Bellene, Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru, Chaignots, 2014
Roche de Bellene, Griottes-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2013
Roche de Bellene, Chambertin Grand Cru, 2007

Jean-Claude Boisset: Obviously a more commercial place, but private tasting in their cellar
Beaune 1er Cru, Les Pertuisots, 2015
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Sous Le Puits, 2016
Meursault 1er Cru, Les Charmes, 2015
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru, Les Charmes, 2015
Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru, Les Perrieres, 2015
Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, 2016
Mazoyeres-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2008
Bonnes Mares Grand Cru, 1994

Joseph Barbier: Tasted with Joseph in his home cellar
Hautes Cotes de Beaune, 2017
Meursault 1er Cru, Les Perrieres, 2014
Vougeot 1er Cru, Le Clos Blanc de Vougeot, 2015
Vougeot, Les Petits Vougeot, 2016
Chambolle-Musigny, Le Clos de L'orme, 2014
Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru, 2016

Domaine Chevigny Rousseau: Tasted in his home cellar
Meursault, 2017
Nuits-Saint-Georges, 2015
Gevrey-Chambertin, 2014
Vosne-Romanee, Les Champs de Perdrix, 2017
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru, Les Combottes, 2017
Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru, Les Petits Monts, 2014
Echezeaux Grand Cru, 2012
Grand Echezeaux Grand Cru, 2014

Chateau de Meursault: Commercial operation, but private tasting and tour
Volnay 1er Cru, Clos des Chenes, 2015
Pommard 1er Cru, Clos des Epenots, 2015
Corton Grand Cru, 2013
Meursault-Perrieres 1er Cru, 2015
Meursault 1er Cru, Les Charmes Dessus, 2015
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, Champ Canet, 2015
Corton-Vergennes Grand Cru, 2013
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#18 Post by Mattstolz » September 8th, 2019, 4:01 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 11:56 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 10:37 am
This gives contact information for growers and merchants and tells who speaks English. Don't expect to see DRC listed here.

https://www.bourgogne-wines.com/our-exp ... ,9363.html

If you make an appointment somewhere, don't be late.
and to the small domaines bring a little gift, coffee, cheese, a bottle of a US wine, whatever.
these are both great pieces of advice. I always wondered if overseas winemakers would appreciate gifts of (our) domestic wines.
J.Vizuete wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 1:22 pm


So what we did instead was great for our first trip: took a guided tour in a Jeep along the mountainside that overlooks all the vineyards in the CdN. The guide coravined glasses for my wife and I from a grand cru and premier cru vineyard as we gazed down over them. There were 5 stops, good producers and vineyards represented, and clean stems at each. The company is called Sensation Vins and while not cheap (little in Burgundy is), I thought it an exceptional overview to establish context for where these wines come from. Astonishing how close they all are as well. We plan to do the Corton tour of whites on our next trip. Feel free to PM if I can be helpful
this sounds like it was a really great way to make lemonade out of some unfortunate lemons. if you have the name of that tour, do you mind posting or messaging it to me? would be a great experience to keep in my back pocket just in case.
Gus Siokis wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 1:34 pm
Matt,

We just did this trip in May - our first in Burgundy and Northern Rhône. If it wasn't for some of the folks (i.e., Howard Cooper, Charlie Fu, HowaredNZ, etc.) on this board I doubt it would have been as nice as we experienced.

Depending on when you are going, we started emailing about two months prior to our visit and all in French (Google Translate works great). We were fortunate the other couple traveling with us spoke French so for those without emails we called. We did a mix of small and large producers to get a feel for the uniqueness of each. If this is your first visit to Burgundy, I would highly recommend a visit to Joseph Drouhin and Bouchard both in Beaune. The tours alone are worth it. As Keith mentioned earlier, one of places we visited in Northern Rhône, Domaine Xavier Gerard, we tasted and ate lunch in his parent's basement, met his father and mother who also made coffee for us. Fantastic experience.

I agree with William - two visits is optimal split by a very nice and long lunch. That said, we did have two days where we did three but they were very close to each other and helped with travel times by also planning a lunch in between the visits so we didn't backtrack. As Alan mentioned above, we brought a small gift as a "thank you" for allowing us to taste with them....since we live in Georgia we brought a small bag of really good Pecans. I think you live in South Carolina? Maybe a small bag of grits or heirloom rice? Don't forget to make your restaurant reservations in advance, too!

Lastly, if you have any industry contacts I would also recommend reaching out to them as well. Three of our visits came about this way for us.

Please let me know if I can answer any questions you may have.....

Gus
glad to hear the recc for going to Drouhin... I kind of was wanting to especially with the wide range of wines they make (quite a few of which I really like) but wasn't sure if it would end up tourist-trappy like Banfi or something. Xavier Gerard was also on my radar for a Northern Rhone trip.

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#19 Post by J.Vizuete » September 8th, 2019, 6:22 pm

Gus Siokis wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 1:54 pm
Personally, I would check out Pierre (son)....just released his first vintage and a ton of great press and vibe on him right now....have a case and half of his wines due in next month.
Will do, nice rec
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#20 Post by Gus Siokis » September 8th, 2019, 6:45 pm

The Drouhin and Bouchard tours also take you below the city of Beaune...which we thought was very cool. When done with the tour/tasting you can purchase wine from their store.

Xavier is about to move into his new facility near the river so you will not have to trek up to his parent's home.

I can PM you pictures from the tour or post here just let me know.

Good luck and ping me with any additional questions!

Gus
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#21 Post by Howard Cooper » September 9th, 2019, 4:48 am

J.Vizuete wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 1:22 pm
That’s a neat piece of advice Alan, I’ll have to do so on our next visit.

I just visited Meursault for a few days in July. I found it significantly more challenging to make appointments in the Cotes de nuits than in Bordeaux, Champagne, and certainly the US. You will not have any success at all these days with the highest tiers (DRC, Rousseau, Coche); you will also have incredible difficulty with even 2nd or 3rd tiers without an industry contact. I speak a little French and inquired directly via email or website, through my hotel concierge, and through a guide.

I could not get into Bernard Moreau, Girardin, Roulot, PYCM, Lamy, Faiveley, Meo Camuzet, and a few others.

I found Chablis far easier and had no problem at William Fevre, Billaud Simon, etc. Admittedly, I started about 6 weeks out and probably should have done so earlier. William’s advice above is sound and I don’t mean to be a grey cloud, just personally ran into a lot of closed doors on our trip. Our hotel offered to arrange visits with any of several small producers in Meursault but I hadn’t heard of them before and was going for something more recognizable.

So what we did instead was great for our first trip: took a guided tour in a Jeep along the mountainside that overlooks all the vineyards in the CdN. The guide coravined glasses for my wife and I from a grand cru and premier cru vineyard as we gazed down over them. There were 5 stops, good producers and vineyards represented, and clean stems at each. The company is called Sensation Vins and while not cheap (little in Burgundy is), I thought it an exceptional overview to establish context for where these wines come from. Astonishing how close they all are as well. We plan to do the Corton tour of whites on our next trip. Feel free to PM if I can be helpful
If you compare apples to apples, you can get into Burgundy producers that charge to taste and that are as large as those in Bordeaux, Champagne and California pretty easily. I don't know, but if your list in California was Screaming Eagle, Harlan, etc., would it be easy to get appointments. Should not be difficult to get a tour and tasting at Bouchard, Drouhin, Oliver Leflaive, etc. Not sure about Jadot, used to require contacts, but I think they may have created a program for people to come and taste. Many of the producers you could not get into are very small (Faiveley would be an exception to this) and have no wines to sell - they have presold virtually everything.
Howard

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#22 Post by John Morris » September 9th, 2019, 5:13 am

Just to punctuate what Howard and William and others have said.... The top smaller producers don't have the staff or time to operate tasting rooms for tourists. If they have wine to sell and will see some people, they will prioritize existing Parisian and Belgian and Swiss customers who fill up their trunks and do so every year, and who speak French fluently.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#23 Post by Dennis Borczon » September 9th, 2019, 5:14 am

Second the recommendation for Bouchard and Drouhin. Bouchard was particularly interesting, pay for the high end tour and it is a better selection of wines. Bouchard even lets you sit down at a tasting bar and relax while you taste the wines! (in a quiet room). For a first visit these are really lovely experiences and very easy to schedule on line. I did not regret the experience and you can easily purchase wines and have them shipped back.

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#24 Post by Nathan V. » September 9th, 2019, 6:33 am

Mattstolz wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 10:49 am
Wife and I are in the beginning stages of planning our next European adventure and I'm trying to work the idea of a couple days in Lyon into the trip. For some reason I feel like tastings in the N Rhone and Burgundy just work slightly differently than other regions that we've gone (Tuscany, Bordeaux, Oregon), and I'm hoping people with some experience might be able to give me some guidance as to the best way to plan some tastings in these regions, if there are producers that are impossible to get tastings with, what to expect, etc.

Thanks for any advice! also, if this should be in travel I'm cool with that
If I were you, I'd skip Burgundy altogether. If you like the wines of the Chalonnaise, Beaujolais and Macconais you can probably get in with the best growers and see some beautiful countryside and have a great experience. As a bonus, it's closer to the Northern Rhone. As an added bonus, you could make Lyon your home base or one of the beautiful little spots in the Beaujolais.

The truth of the matter is that without a good industry contact, you aren't going to get in to see any of the growers discussed on this board. Even if you do, they may view it more as drudgery and you could end up having a disappointing experience.

Personally, Burgundy has really lost most of its charm to me anyway. If you go off the beaten path a bit, you are more likely to have an experience where the vigneron is happy to see you, grateful that you've gone through the trouble to travel 5000 miles to see them and you may get to walk the vineyards, taste some older vintages and make a personal connection. To me, this is more rewarding.

Just my $0.02.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#25 Post by joz€f p1nxten » September 9th, 2019, 6:49 am

Nathan V. wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 6:33 am

If I were you, I'd skip Burgundy altogether. If you like the wines of the Chalonnaise, Beaujolais and Macconais you can probably get in with the best growers and see some beautiful countryside and have a great experience. As a bonus, it's closer to the Northern Rhone. As an added bonus, you could make Lyon your home base or one of the beautiful little spots in the Beaujolais.
I think you make a good point but:
- for a first visit, it's may be a bit too much off the beaten track, especially if you want to visit the famous grand crus (my 2 eurocents) - and this is coming from someone who visited the beaujolais in August (with some impressions: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=157798&p=2795805#p2795805);
- even in the cote d'or, there are some excellent small scale producers (think Pernand, Marsannay, etc) - if I was the OP, I would take up William on his offer to give a couple of rec's - in his reports for WA he pays some remarkable attention to small producers from less heralded terroirs making great wine.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#26 Post by Howard Cooper » September 9th, 2019, 6:58 am

Nathan V. wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 6:33 am
Mattstolz wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 10:49 am
Wife and I are in the beginning stages of planning our next European adventure and I'm trying to work the idea of a couple days in Lyon into the trip. For some reason I feel like tastings in the N Rhone and Burgundy just work slightly differently than other regions that we've gone (Tuscany, Bordeaux, Oregon), and I'm hoping people with some experience might be able to give me some guidance as to the best way to plan some tastings in these regions, if there are producers that are impossible to get tastings with, what to expect, etc.

Thanks for any advice! also, if this should be in travel I'm cool with that
If I were you, I'd skip Burgundy altogether. If you like the wines of the Chalonnaise, Beaujolais and Macconais you can probably get in with the best growers and see some beautiful countryside and have a great experience. As a bonus, it's closer to the Northern Rhone. As an added bonus, you could make Lyon your home base or one of the beautiful little spots in the Beaujolais.

The truth of the matter is that without a good industry contact, you aren't going to get in to see any of the growers discussed on this board. Even if you do, they may view it more as drudgery and you could end up having a disappointing experience.

Personally, Burgundy has really lost most of its charm to me anyway. If you go off the beaten path a bit, you are more likely to have an experience where the vigneron is happy to see you, grateful that you've gone through the trouble to travel 5000 miles to see them and you may get to walk the vineyards, taste some older vintages and make a personal connection. To me, this is more rewarding.

Just my $0.02.
I could not disagree more, but it is all about what is important to you.

Obviously, you can get into Drouhin https://www.drouhin-oenotheque.com/en/visite Bouchard https://www.bouchard-pereetfils.com/en/ ... d-contact/ and other large growers. So, when Nathan says you cannot get into any of the producers listed in the thread, he is just wrong.

Second, if you go through the link I gave you, you can find other smaller producers whose wines are not in such great demand where you can have a wonderful experience and taste excellent wines. The small domaines in Burgundy generally are family run. If they will see you, it is highly likely that you will meet with someone from the family, not some flunky whose job it is to give tours. This is another reasons small domaines limit visitors. They just do not have the time or personnel to see lots of people (this is another reason why you cannot compare visits to larger estates in California wineries, Bordeaux or Champagne to visits to small estates in Burgundy - in most of these cases, you are meeting with someone whose job it is to give tours). [Where possible, I always buy wines from the smaller producers I visit. If you do not want to buy their wines, don't visit and waste their time.]

Third, it is truly exciting to drive through the Cotes D'Or and see the great vineyards. And, the food in the Cotes D'Or is fabulous. I could see going to Beaune and just eat in Beaune.

Finally, even to the extent you cannot get into smaller growers, you can taste and buy wines from smaller producers in the Caveaus in various towns. The Caveau de Chassagne Montrachet is esp. good. http://www.caveaudechassagne.com/

And, you can have any wine you buy at these places shipped back to you in the US from Cotes D'Or Imports. https://www.cotedorpdx.com/ They are really easy to deal with.

If you want to travel 5000 miles just to taste Macon Villages and Beaujolais Villages, have a great time. But, I love going to Burgundy and I think you will enjoy it as well. You have to decide what you want.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#27 Post by Howard Cooper » September 9th, 2019, 7:03 am

Mattstolz wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 10:49 am
Wife and I are in the beginning stages of planning our next European adventure and I'm trying to work the idea of a couple days in Lyon into the trip. For some reason I feel like tastings in the N Rhone and Burgundy just work slightly differently than other regions that we've gone (Tuscany, Bordeaux, Oregon), and I'm hoping people with some experience might be able to give me some guidance as to the best way to plan some tastings in these regions, if there are producers that are impossible to get tastings with, what to expect, etc.

Thanks for any advice! also, if this should be in travel I'm cool with that
One more question for you Matt. When are you thinking of going? If it is in September or October, it is likely that nobody will see you. My guess is you will get into more domaines in the winter than in the summer because there is less field work and fewer people visiting. Etc., etc.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#28 Post by Nathan V. » September 9th, 2019, 7:12 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 6:58 am
Nathan V. wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 6:33 am
Mattstolz wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 10:49 am
Wife and I are in the beginning stages of planning our next European adventure and I'm trying to work the idea of a couple days in Lyon into the trip. For some reason I feel like tastings in the N Rhone and Burgundy just work slightly differently than other regions that we've gone (Tuscany, Bordeaux, Oregon), and I'm hoping people with some experience might be able to give me some guidance as to the best way to plan some tastings in these regions, if there are producers that are impossible to get tastings with, what to expect, etc.

Thanks for any advice! also, if this should be in travel I'm cool with that
If I were you, I'd skip Burgundy altogether. If you like the wines of the Chalonnaise, Beaujolais and Macconais you can probably get in with the best growers and see some beautiful countryside and have a great experience. As a bonus, it's closer to the Northern Rhone. As an added bonus, you could make Lyon your home base or one of the beautiful little spots in the Beaujolais.

The truth of the matter is that without a good industry contact, you aren't going to get in to see any of the growers discussed on this board. Even if you do, they may view it more as drudgery and you could end up having a disappointing experience.

Personally, Burgundy has really lost most of its charm to me anyway. If you go off the beaten path a bit, you are more likely to have an experience where the vigneron is happy to see you, grateful that you've gone through the trouble to travel 5000 miles to see them and you may get to walk the vineyards, taste some older vintages and make a personal connection. To me, this is more rewarding.

Just my $0.02.
I could not disagree more, but it is all about what is important to you.

Obviously, you can get into Drouhin https://www.drouhin-oenotheque.com/en/visite Bouchard https://www.bouchard-pereetfils.com/en/ ... d-contact/ and other large growers. So, when Nathan says you cannot get into any of the producers listed in the thread, he is just wrong.

Second, if you go through the link I gave you, you can find other smaller producers whose wines are not in such great demand where you can have a wonderful experience and taste excellent wines. The small domaines in Burgundy generally are family run. If they will see you, it is highly likely that you will meet with someone from the family, not some flunky whose job it is to give tours. This is another reasons small domaines limit visitors. They just do not have the time or personnel to see lots of people (this is another reason why you cannot compare visits to larger estates in California wineries, Bordeaux or Champagne to visits to small estates in Burgundy - in most of these cases, you are meeting with someone whose job it is to give tours). [Where possible, I always buy wines from the smaller producers I visit. If you do not want to buy their wines, don't visit and waste their time.]

Third, it is truly exciting to drive through the Cotes D'Or and see the great vineyards. And, the food in the Cotes D'Or is fabulous. I could see going to Beaune and just eat in Beaune.

Finally, even to the extent you cannot get into smaller growers, you can taste and buy wines from smaller producers in the Caveaus in various towns. The Caveau de Chassagne Montrachet is esp. good. http://www.caveaudechassagne.com/

And, you can have any wine you buy at these places shipped back to you in the US from Cotes D'Or Imports. https://www.cotedorpdx.com/ They are really easy to deal with.

If you want to travel 5000 miles just to taste Macon Villages and Beaujolais Villages, have a great time. But, I love going to Burgundy and I think you will enjoy it as well. You have to decide what you want.
Agree with Howard, it is all about what is important to you. If you want to be one of the throngs in Burgundy and have no personal connection with the grower, then being a late comer to Burgundy is for you.

Maybe take a day in Beaune and go to one of the big houses and get a sense of Burgundy. You're not going to get in to see the names mentioned frequently on this board: Fourrier, Mugneret-Gibourg, Barthod, Bachelet, Mugnier, Meo, Gouges, Chevillon much less Rousseau, Roumier etc.*

It's about what kind of experience you want to have.


*FWIW, I can see whoever I want (except maybe DRC) yet rarely choose to go anymore except to see Mugneret-Gibourg and the last time we dropped in on Roulot.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#29 Post by J.Vizuete » September 9th, 2019, 7:27 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 4:48 am
J.Vizuete wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 1:22 pm
I found it significantly more challenging to make appointments in the Cotes de nuits than in Bordeaux, Champagne, and certainly the US. You will not have any success at all these days with the highest tiers (DRC, Rousseau, Coche); you will also have incredible difficulty with even 2nd or 3rd tiers without an industry contact. I speak a little French and inquired directly via email or website, through my hotel concierge, and through a guide.

I could not get into Bernard Moreau, Girardin, Roulot, PYCM, Lamy, Faiveley, Meo Camuzet, and a few others.

I found Chablis far easier and had no problem at William Fevre, Billaud Simon, etc. Admittedly, I started about 6 weeks out and probably should have done so earlier. William’s advice above is sound and I don’t mean to be a grey cloud, just personally ran into a lot of closed doors on our trip. Our hotel offered to arrange visits with any of several small producers in Meursault but I hadn’t heard of them before and was going for something more recognizable.
If you compare apples to apples, you can get into Burgundy producers that charge to taste and that are as large as those in Bordeaux, Champagne and California pretty easily. I don't know, but if your list in California was Screaming Eagle, Harlan, etc., would it be easy to get appointments? Should not be difficult to get a tour and tasting at Bouchard, Drouhin, Oliver Leflaive, etc. Not sure about Jadot, used to require contacts, but I think they may have created a program for people to come and taste. Many of the producers you could not get into are very small (Faiveley would be an exception to this) and have no wines to sell - they have presold virtually everything.
Granted there is a TINY group of wineries in Napa where it can be difficult to secure a tasting visit. But I regularly see posts on this board about guys having lunch with Alex Macdonald, I can buy Harlan off the list tomorrow if I wanted, then go taste with them, and I can email Leah Smith anytime I want to arrange a visit (for myself or friends). There's only one person here I'm aware of who can call up Aubert de Villaine. In Napa and Sonoma, there are plenty of small boutique producers that will be excited to welcome interested parties.

It is also true that making appointments at Bouchard, Drouhin, Jadot, and Olivier Leflaive is very easily done online. However, that is a grand total of 4 producers where a string doesn't need to be pulled. There may be more, but I don't think there are many more. Having seen on this thread that others have had good experiences at Bouchard, I slightly regret not trying one of them. Still, if I told you, Napa is great - you can definitely get into Mondavi, Beaulieu, Caymus, and Chandon but everyone else will be sold out, would you be excited about that?

I also looked into Henri Boillot, Domaine de Montille, and D'angerville. A local guide's response was "It will be really HARD to get rendez vous at those wineries". Despite making fantastic wines, none of these are top tier or even 2nd by burg standards, and I specifically chose producers who source from a variety of vineyards across villages/1ere/grand crus, presuming they might have a few things to share (if not their top cuvees).

Here's my point: Tasting in Burgundy in 2019 is more difficult to arrange than Napa without question. There is not a good apples to apples comparison to be made because of differences in case volume, a language barrier, and broad global demand for Burgundy. It is not however, impossible, and one can have a fantastic visit with excellent food, nice hotels, beautiful countryside etc; which we certainly did. As you rightly note, the route des grands crus is an incredible thing to drive and understand. Our experience along the mountain road was breathtaking and provided a context for Burgundy I'll never forget. I would encourage the OP to put out a few lines and see if he can arrange something of interest. Timing of the request (both season and length of notice), a kind note, or personal connection may be useful. I would reach out to William Kelley, who is a fine ambassador (wish I had known this as well). If he doesn't have any luck, he'll be prepared to look elsewhere.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#30 Post by Mark Y » September 9th, 2019, 7:55 am

My opinion is the attraction of Burgundy is not visiting the hyper domaines (like in bdx where u can visit lafite Margaux etc).
Rather it’s walking the legendary vineyards, taking the the mystique of the region. Catch lunch and dinner at some great spots with reasonable lists.

Visiting even top tier producers - it’s great to see some but how good are 2019 barrel samples and some bottles of 2018 new releases really going to taste?
Assuming u aren’t royalty and get the royalty treatment of deep library vertical tastings etc.

I look forward to just to walking around. Check out a few producers but more just to experience the region. Not sure if that’s just me. :)
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#31 Post by Howard Cooper » September 9th, 2019, 8:00 am

J.Vizuete wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 7:27 am


It is also true that making appointments at Bouchard, Drouhin, Jadot, and Olivier Leflaive is very easily done online. However, that is a grand total of 4 producers where a string doesn't need to be pulled. There may be more, but I don't think there are many more. Having seen on this thread that others have had good experiences at Bouchard, I slightly regret not trying one of them.
You do not know what you are talking about. There are numerous threads on this board over and over again about board members who go to a wide variety of wine producers in Burgundy. But everyone wants to read about Jeremy Holmes going to the very top producers and people ignore guys like Mike Grammer going to a wide number of excellent producers.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=100412&p=1466444&hi ... y#p1466444
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=100501&p=1467300&hi ... y#p1467300

And, you likely have spent years buying from producers like Alex Macdonald, Leah Smith, etc. I have never tasted their wines and know very little about them. Do you think it is likely that I could give them a call tomorrow and set up an appointment to spend an hour or two next week having them show me around and tasting through about 10 of their wines?
Last edited by Howard Cooper on September 9th, 2019, 8:17 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#32 Post by J.Vizuete » September 9th, 2019, 8:05 am

Mark Y wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 7:55 am
My opinion is the attraction of Burgundy is not visiting the hyper domaines (like in bdx where u can visit lafite Margaux etc).
Rather it’s walking the legendary vineyards, taking the the mystique of the region. Catch lunch and dinner at some great spots with reasonable lists.

I look forward to just to walking around. Check out a few producers but more just to experience the region. Not sure if that’s just me. :)
Totally agree - don't avoid the region just because you can't get into small domaines.

That contrast (being able to visit famous BDX houses) reminded me of this [very] useful thread where some of the same points have been made : viewtopic.php?f=1&t=155966&hilit=bordeaux+burgundy

On my trip, we ended up spending 4 nights in Bordeaux and touring for 3 days with 2 other couples (total of 6 people). Spent another 2 nights in champagne then the other couples split off. My wife and I drove to Burgundy alone together and it was lovely for all the reasons you mention
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#33 Post by J.Vizuete » September 9th, 2019, 8:20 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:00 am
J.Vizuete wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 7:27 am


It is also true that making appointments at Bouchard, Drouhin, Jadot, and Olivier Leflaive is very easily done online. However, that is a grand total of 4 producers where a string doesn't need to be pulled. There may be more, but I don't think there are many more. Having seen on this thread that others have had good experiences at Bouchard, I slightly regret not trying one of them.
You do not know what you are talking about. There are numerous threads on this board over and over again about board members who go to a wide variety of wine producers in Burgundy. But everyone wants to read about Jeremy Holmes going to the very top producers and people ignore guys like Mike Grammer going to a wide number of excellent producers.
Perhaps you can point the OP to some of those threads?

I'm only sharing my experience and I was just there two months ago. Despite probing several avenues, I found difficulty making appointments with around a dozen producers whose wines I follow. You have been tasting in this region for many years and I presume have relationships with producers you've visited and purchased from so perhaps it's easier for you?

Part of Nathan's point is that yes, you can taste with small producers but you're going to have to venture out to find them. Similarly, I argue that one will not find it easy to taste at top tier wineries (or 2nd, or 3rd) or those sexy ones that Holmes visits. Your post here seems to concur, so where's the discrepancy? Maybe I should have specified large houses/negiociants in my post above, but that's not why people want to go to burgundy, I think.

For the record, I have found your advice on the thread I linked above very useful and appreciate your input here as well.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#34 Post by Howard Cooper » September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am

J.Vizuete wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:20 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:00 am
J.Vizuete wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 7:27 am


It is also true that making appointments at Bouchard, Drouhin, Jadot, and Olivier Leflaive is very easily done online. However, that is a grand total of 4 producers where a string doesn't need to be pulled. There may be more, but I don't think there are many more. Having seen on this thread that others have had good experiences at Bouchard, I slightly regret not trying one of them.
You do not know what you are talking about. There are numerous threads on this board over and over again about board members who go to a wide variety of wine producers in Burgundy. But everyone wants to read about Jeremy Holmes going to the very top producers and people ignore guys like Mike Grammer going to a wide number of excellent producers.
Perhaps you can point the OP to some of those threads?

I'm only sharing my experience and I was just there two months ago. Despite probing several avenues, I found difficulty making appointments with around a dozen producers whose wines I follow. You have been tasting in this region for many years and I presume have relationships with producers you've visited and purchased from so perhaps it's easier for you?

Part of Nathan's point is that yes, you can taste with small producers but you're going to have to venture out to find them. Similarly, I argue that one will not find it easy to taste at top tier wineries (or 2nd, or 3rd) or those sexy ones that Holmes visits. Your post here seems to concur, so where's the discrepancy? Maybe I should have specified large houses/negiociants in my post above, but that's not why people want to go to burgundy, I think.

For the record, I have found your advice on the thread I linked above very useful and appreciate your input here as well.
I have added links to Mike's notes. I do not disagree with you that it takes some work to find wineries to visit at small producers in Burgundy. This is why I provided a link to a list of producers in Burgundy that gives contact information, whether the wineries speak English, and whether they take visitors.

I now have been to Burgundy a number of times. Some of the producers I visit are smaller, some are larger. Frankly, there is very little more interesting to see in Burgundy than the caves at Bouchard. They are really extensive, are right on the rampart walls in Beaune and have some extremely old wines in them. I have visited Jadot three or four times, Bouchard twice and Drouhin once (Drouhin has a wonderful store in the front where once can buy wines with age on them at relatively reasonable prices). When, I suggest visiting larger producers, I am suggest these three wineries as outstanding producers of Burgundy. There are certainly many more large producers of Burgundy that one can visit but I did not suggest them because I cannot recommend them. In California terms, to me, a visit to these three wineries is like a visit to Ridge, not a visit to Gallo.

As for smaller growers, a lot of the wineries I visit are now repeats. Some of my visits are to wineries where I have friends with contacts. But, a good number are wineries I just tried to make a contact with and lucked out when they agreed to see me. It typically takes about 10 new wineries to contact to get 2-3 wineries to visit. When, I contact people, I put in my email to them information about how I know their wines and my history with the estate. And, it helps that I post about Burgundy on this board and on Facebook - I have become friends with a lot of producers on Facebook that I might want to visit in the future. One big thing has been to post notes about wines of producers that I have tasted in Facebook boards - often. This esp. helps with younger and more upcoming producers who might be interested in publicity. I would never call any producer I might want to visit a second or third tier producers anywhere in public - would you take up your time with someone who calls you a second or third tier producer? My notes of my visits to producers are all positive, but I never lie. If I don't like the wines from a producer, I don't post about the visit. This does not happen very often as I try to visit wineries where I like the wines. I would never say anything negative about someone who took time out to see me.

I use the Paulees in NYC as a way to meet producers or to reacquaint myself with producers I have visited in the past. I have been able to get into one estate that is very hard to visit by asking them the year we were tasting their 2004s. It was easier to get into there back then and now I am able to sometimes get repeat visits.

My sense based on where I have been able to get into is that people who cannot get into any small Burgundy producers either only want to get into the hottest estates, are contacting producers whose wines they have not tasted or have very little experience with, trash Burgundy often on social media or do not do much homework on finding excellent under the radar producers they might want to visit. People who drink $30-75 American Pinot and are excited to go to Napa or Sonoma or Oregon and visit Sanford, Domaine Drouhin, etc., and get tours from whoever it is giving tours that day decide to go to Burgundy and are upset when Aubert de Villaine will not spend time with them.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#35 Post by J.Vizuete » September 9th, 2019, 9:36 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am
I have added links to Mike's notes. I do not disagree with you that it takes some work to find wineries to visit at small producers in Burgundy. This is why I provided a link to a list of producers in Burgundy that gives contact information, whether the wineries speak English, and whether they take visitors.
Thank you. Will peruse them both
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am
Frankly, there is very little more interesting to see in Burgundy than the caves at Bouchard. They are really extensive, are right on the rampart walls in Beaune and have some extremely old wines in them. I have visited Jadot three or four times, Bouchard twice and Drouhin once (Drouhin has a wonderful store in the front where once can buy wines with age on them at relatively reasonable prices). When, I suggest visiting larger producers, I am suggest these three wineries as outstanding producers of Burgundy. There are certainly many more large producers of Burgundy that one can visit but I did not suggest them because I cannot recommend them. In California terms, to me, a visit to these three wineries is like a visit to Ridge, not a visit to Gallo.
Point well taken, and I do wish I had stopped at Bouchard. I'll plan to on our next visit.
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am
As for smaller growers, a lot of the wineries I visit are now repeats. Some of my visits are to wineries where I have friends with contacts. But, a good number are wineries I just tried to make a contact with and lucked out when they agreed to see me. It typically takes about 10 new wineries to contact to get 2-3 wineries to visit. When, I contact people, I put in my email to them information about how I know their wines and my history with the estate. And, it helps that I post about Burgundy on this board and on Facebook - I have become friends with a lot of producers on Facebook that I might want to visit in the future. One big thing has been to post notes about wines of producers that I have tasted in Facebook boards - often. This esp. helps with younger and more upcoming producers who might be interested in publicity.
All good approaches that take time and effort
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am
I would never call any producer I might want to visit a second or third tier producers anywhere in public - would you take up your time with someone who calls you a second or third tier producer? My notes of my visits to producers are all positive, but I never lie. If I don't like the wines from a producer, I don't post about the visit. This does not happen very often as I try to visit wineries where I like the wines. I would never say anything negative about someone who took time out to see me.
Obviously these are all excellent producers whose wines I have said that I follow and enjoy. It would be both rude and foolish to reference a "tier" when contacting a producer. Here of course I am referring to pricing and availability, which both contribute to exclusivity. Bernard Moreau makes some of the most fabulous reds and whites I have ever tasted. He probably is aware that his wines don't fetch the auction prices of Coche. But there's no reason to say it directly and I doubt they are going to scour posts on WB to vet potential visitors. Plus, as I said, I couldn't get in anyway :)
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am
My sense based on where I have been able to get into is that people who cannot get into any small Burgundy producers either only want to get into the hottest estates {or} are contacting producers whose wines they have not tasted or have very little experience with.
I think you're right on point here. This whole conversation is intended to help the OP and readers frame appropriate expectations. Mine had to be adjusted. This website functions as a bit of a hype machine, and drives interest in certain producers. While it can tough to source some of these wines stateside, I agree it's worth doing and I only reached out to producers whose wines I had tried and liked
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#36 Post by Brian Gilp » September 9th, 2019, 9:52 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am
It typically takes about 10 new wineries to contact to get 2-3 wineries to visit.
When I was planning our trip in 2016, my ratio was closer to 15 contacts per 1 winery to visit as I don't have the same situation as Howard. You need to start early as many wineries didn't respond for many days and in some cases weeks. Others didn't respond at all. So assuming you have some prioritized list of wineries you want to visit you need to allow plenty of time for a response before moving to the next one one your list. Even allowing what I thought was sufficient time, I ended up setting up two appointments on the same day & time and had to reschedule one. Luckily the winery was willing to do so but it wasn't the way I would have preferred to have done things.

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#37 Post by Markus S » September 9th, 2019, 10:10 am

Nathan V. wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 6:33 am
Mattstolz wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 10:49 am
Wife and I are in the beginning stages of planning our next European adventure and I'm trying to work the idea of a couple days in Lyon into the trip. For some reason I feel like tastings in the N Rhone and Burgundy just work slightly differently than other regions that we've gone (Tuscany, Bordeaux, Oregon), and I'm hoping people with some experience might be able to give me some guidance as to the best way to plan some tastings in these regions, if there are producers that are impossible to get tastings with, what to expect, etc.

Thanks for any advice! also, if this should be in travel I'm cool with that
If I were you, I'd skip Burgundy altogether. If you like the wines of the Chalonnaise, Beaujolais and Macconais you can probably get in with the best growers and see some beautiful countryside and have a great experience. As a bonus, it's closer to the Northern Rhone. As an added bonus, you could make Lyon your home base or one of the beautiful little spots in the Beaujolais.

The truth of the matter is that without a good industry contact, you aren't going to get in to see any of the growers discussed on this board. Even if you do, they may view it more as drudgery and you could end up having a disappointing experience.

Personally, Burgundy has really lost most of its charm to me anyway. If you go off the beaten path a bit, you are more likely to have an experience where the vigneron is happy to see you, grateful that you've gone through the trouble to travel 5000 miles to see them and you may get to walk the vineyards, taste some older vintages and make a personal connection. To me, this is more rewarding.

Just my $0.02.
I was thinking the same thing slogging through this depressing thread. I would simply drink their wines and let the winemakers get on with the important task of letting them sell their wine instead of trying to corral them into an appointment it sounds like they would rather not make.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#38 Post by Markus S » September 9th, 2019, 10:16 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am
... My notes of my visits to producers are all positive, but I never lie. If I don't like the wines from a producer, I don't post about the visit. ...
Hmm, if you were Roman Catholic this would be considered a lie of omission.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#39 Post by Howard Cooper » September 9th, 2019, 10:44 am

Markus S wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 10:16 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am
... My notes of my visits to producers are all positive, but I never lie. If I don't like the wines from a producer, I don't post about the visit. ...
Hmm, if you were Roman Catholic this would be considered a lie of omission.
I would call it treating people who have been nice to me with courtesy.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#40 Post by Howard Cooper » September 9th, 2019, 10:51 am

J.Vizuete wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 9:36 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am
As for smaller growers, a lot of the wineries I visit are now repeats. Some of my visits are to wineries where I have friends with contacts. But, a good number are wineries I just tried to make a contact with and lucked out when they agreed to see me. It typically takes about 10 new wineries to contact to get 2-3 wineries to visit. When, I contact people, I put in my email to them information about how I know their wines and my history with the estate. And, it helps that I post about Burgundy on this board and on Facebook - I have become friends with a lot of producers on Facebook that I might want to visit in the future. One big thing has been to post notes about wines of producers that I have tasted in Facebook boards - often. This esp. helps with younger and more upcoming producers who might be interested in publicity.
All good approaches that take time and effort

***
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am
My sense based on where I have been able to get into is that people who cannot get into any small Burgundy producers either only want to get into the hottest estates {or} are contacting producers whose wines they have not tasted or have very little experience with.
I think you're right on point here. This whole conversation is intended to help the OP and readers frame appropriate expectations. Mine had to be adjusted. This website functions as a bit of a hype machine, and drives interest in certain producers. While it can tough to source some of these wines stateside, I agree it's worth doing and I only reached out to producers whose wines I had tried and liked
There is no question that maximizing my trips to Burgundy have taken time and effort. But, they have been worth it. They are some of my favorite trips of my life. Basically, there are about four alternatives, as I see it:

1. Don't go to Burgundy. 99.9 percent of the world or more has never been to Burgundy and many of these people have still lived happy and fulfilled lives.
2. Put forth a good bit of time and effort and have the time of your life - even though you still won't visit DRC, Leroy, Roumier or Coche.
3. Go to the top bigger growers; see the Clos Vougeot, the Hospice de Beaune, and other interesting sites; visit a few caveaus; drive around to see the famous vineyards; eat some marvelous food; and have an excellent time - without worrying about what you don't see.
4. Spend a lot of money on a tour guide who will get you into smaller growers - have never done this in Burgundy so I don't know how well it works.
Howard

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#41 Post by Greg K » September 9th, 2019, 10:55 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 10:44 am
Markus S wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 10:16 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:53 am
... My notes of my visits to producers are all positive, but I never lie. If I don't like the wines from a producer, I don't post about the visit. ...
Hmm, if you were Roman Catholic this would be considered a lie of omission.
I would call it treating people who have been nice to me with courtesy.
Agreed. Wine is subjective, and I'm not a professional reviewer so have no responsibility to any readers. I've visited some lovely people whose wines I didn't think were all that great (even though other people love them) - no reason to give them negative publicity.

I echo many of the sentiments on this thread, but would also say, a simple email early enough in advance is sometimes surprisingly effective - I've gotten to see some reasonably prominent producers (no, I don't mean Coche/DRC) by simply emailing them and politely asking to see them because you enjoy their wines.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#42 Post by Howard Cooper » September 9th, 2019, 11:14 am

J.Vizuete wrote:
September 8th, 2019, 1:22 pm
That’s a neat piece of advice Alan, I’ll have to do so on our next visit.

I just visited Meursault for a few days in July. I found it significantly more challenging to make appointments in the Cotes de nuits than in Bordeaux, Champagne, and certainly the US. You will not have any success at all these days with the highest tiers (DRC, Rousseau, Coche); you will also have incredible difficulty with even 2nd or 3rd tiers without an industry contact. I speak a little French and inquired directly via email or website, through my hotel concierge, and through a guide.

I could not get into Bernard Moreau, Girardin, Roulot, PYCM, Lamy, Faiveley, Meo Camuzet, and a few others.

I found Chablis far easier and had no problem at William Fevre, Billaud Simon, etc. Admittedly, I started about 6 weeks out and probably should have done so earlier. William’s advice above is sound and I don’t mean to be a grey cloud, just personally ran into a lot of closed doors on our trip. Our hotel offered to arrange visits with any of several small producers in Meursault but I hadn’t heard of them before and was going for something more recognizable.

So what we did instead was great for our first trip: took a guided tour in a Jeep along the mountainside that overlooks all the vineyards in the CdN. The guide coravined glasses for my wife and I from a grand cru and premier cru vineyard as we gazed down over them. There were 5 stops, good producers and vineyards represented, and clean stems at each. The company is called Sensation Vins and while not cheap (little in Burgundy is), I thought it an exceptional overview to establish context for where these wines come from. Astonishing how close they all are as well. We plan to do the Corton tour of whites on our next trip. Feel free to PM if I can be helpful
Do note that William Fevre is owned by the same company as Bouchard - Henriot.

You mention that your hotel offered to arrange visits with small producers. Next time you or anyone else receives such an offer to arrange visits, post the names of the wineries they mention here and see if anyone has heard of them. For example, I don't know if you have heard of Buisson-Charles, but if someone recommended them to you, grab the opportunity. The wines are fabulous.

One inn that I think might help arrange visits is la Terre D'Or. http://www.laterredor.com/en/ We stayed there a number of years ago - it is beautiful there and is located in the hills above Beaune. I think they made the offer, but we had our visits arranged already.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#43 Post by Howard Cooper » September 9th, 2019, 11:16 am

J.Vizuete wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 8:05 am
Mark Y wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 7:55 am
My opinion is the attraction of Burgundy is not visiting the hyper domaines (like in bdx where u can visit lafite Margaux etc).
Rather it’s walking the legendary vineyards, taking the the mystique of the region. Catch lunch and dinner at some great spots with reasonable lists.

I look forward to just to walking around. Check out a few producers but more just to experience the region. Not sure if that’s just me. :)
Totally agree - don't avoid the region just because you can't get into small domaines.

That contrast (being able to visit famous BDX houses) reminded me of this [very] useful thread where some of the same points have been made : viewtopic.php?f=1&t=155966&hilit=bordeaux+burgundy

On my trip, we ended up spending 4 nights in Bordeaux and touring for 3 days with 2 other couples (total of 6 people). Spent another 2 nights in champagne then the other couples split off. My wife and I drove to Burgundy alone together and it was lovely for all the reasons you mention
Where did you visit in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. We were in Champagne (but only for the day) a year ago, but were just in Reims and visited two large houses - Taittinger and Ruinart. Had a wonderful time there.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#44 Post by J.Vizuete » September 9th, 2019, 11:47 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 10:51 am
There is no question that maximizing my trips to Burgundy have taken time and effort. But, they have been worth it. They are some of my favorite trips of my life. Basically, there are about four alternatives, as I see it:

1. Don't go to Burgundy. 99.9 percent of the world or more has never been to Burgundy and many of these people have still lived happy and fulfilled lives.
2. Put forth a good bit of time and effort and have the time of your life - even though you still won't visit DRC, Leroy, Roumier or Coche.
3. Go to the top bigger growers; see the Clos Vougeot, the Hospice de Beaune, and other interesting sites; visit a few caveaus; drive around to see the famous vineyards; eat some marvelous food; and have an excellent time - without worrying about what you don't see.
4. Spend a lot of money on a tour guide who will get you into smaller growers - have never done this in Burgundy so I don't know how well it works.
Great post, big +1. Especially point #3
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 11:14 am
You mention that your hotel offered to arrange visits with small producers. Next time you or anyone else receives such an offer to arrange visits, post the names of the wineries they mention here and see if anyone has heard of them.
Our hotel (Hotel La Cueillette - https://www.lacueillette.com/en/) was absolutely stunning and offered to make appointments with:
Ropiteau frères (Meursault)
Vincent Latour (Meursault)
Domaine Rapet ( Savigny-les Beaune) <- should have done this one but opted to do the Sensation Vins tour instead (https://sensation-vin.com/en/classes/fr ... chambertin)
Château de Corton C (aloxe corton)
Antonin Rodet (Mercurey)
Boyer-Martenot (Meursault)

We had a wonderful trip and anticipate going back in a few years. For that trip, I'll plan to go in the spring, visit Bouchard, and probably hire a guide or go with friends in industry.
John V.

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#45 Post by Gus Siokis » September 9th, 2019, 1:56 pm

Matt,

Here is a recent thread on Burgundy/N. Rhône you might find interest in.....

viewtopic.php?t=161074
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#46 Post by Mattstolz » September 9th, 2019, 2:47 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 7:03 am


One more question for you Matt. When are you thinking of going? If it is in September or October, it is likely that nobody will see you. My guess is you will get into more domaines in the winter than in the summer because there is less field work and fewer people visiting. Etc., etc.
my wife's teacher schedule means that we would probably be going in early April (spring break). I don't think I'd probably even try emailing during the next two months so that my email doesn't get lost in the chaos of harvest, but would probably try to start soon after to get as much head start as possible.

I appreciate your thoughts and advice so far in this thread. like I mentioned, my only (limited) French wine experience so far is in Bordeaux, which is so different from how everything sounds in Burgundy. I started to peruse your link earlier with contacts and English y/n on it. super helpful link. Thanks!
Gus Siokis wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 1:56 pm
Matt,

Here is a recent thread on Burgundy/N. Rhône you might find interest in.....

viewtopic.php?t=161074
Thanks!

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#47 Post by Howard Cooper » September 9th, 2019, 4:33 pm

Mattstolz wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 2:47 pm


my wife's teacher schedule means that we would probably be going in early April (spring break). I don't think I'd probably even try emailing during the next two months so that my email doesn't get lost in the chaos of harvest, but would probably try to start soon after to get as much head start as possible.

I normally start emailing people about two months or so in advance. Not sure how many are organized enough to keep track of appointments much before that.

Never been there in April. We were once there in May and had a great time. One thing to pay attention to before any trip anywhere in France. They have an unbelievable number of holidays where everything is closed. We have run into this in Paris, in Bordeaux (where it was Armistice Day) and in Burgundy. Look at a French holiday calendar. I wonder how many places are closed around Good Friday and Easter, for example.
Howard

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#48 Post by Gus Siokis » September 9th, 2019, 5:37 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 4:33 pm
Mattstolz wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 2:47 pm


my wife's teacher schedule means that we would probably be going in early April (spring break). I don't think I'd probably even try emailing during the next two months so that my email doesn't get lost in the chaos of harvest, but would probably try to start soon after to get as much head start as possible.

I normally start emailing people about two months or so in advance. Not sure how many are organized enough to keep track of appointments much before that.

Never been there in April. We were once there in May and had a great time. One thing to pay attention to before any trip anywhere in France. They have an unbelievable number of holidays where everything is closed. We have run into this in Paris, in Bordeaux (where it was Armistice Day) and in Burgundy. Look at a French holiday calendar. I wonder how many places are closed around Good Friday and Easter, for example.
Off topic: I know you enjoy Y. Clerget’s wines and wanted to let you know, if you didn’t know already, he’s making a Corton Rognet in 2019.
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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#49 Post by Howard Cooper » September 9th, 2019, 6:01 pm

Gus Siokis wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 5:37 pm
Howard Cooper wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 4:33 pm
Mattstolz wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 2:47 pm


my wife's teacher schedule means that we would probably be going in early April (spring break). I don't think I'd probably even try emailing during the next two months so that my email doesn't get lost in the chaos of harvest, but would probably try to start soon after to get as much head start as possible.

I normally start emailing people about two months or so in advance. Not sure how many are organized enough to keep track of appointments much before that.

Never been there in April. We were once there in May and had a great time. One thing to pay attention to before any trip anywhere in France. They have an unbelievable number of holidays where everything is closed. We have run into this in Paris, in Bordeaux (where it was Armistice Day) and in Burgundy. Look at a French holiday calendar. I wonder how many places are closed around Good Friday and Easter, for example.
Off topic: I know you enjoy Y. Clerget’s wines and wanted to let you know, if you didn’t know already, he’s making a Corton Rognet in 2019.
Thank you. I do like his wines. Thibaud Clerget is really an up and coming young producer.
Howard

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Re: Tasting in Burgundy/Rhone

#50 Post by andrewz » September 10th, 2019, 1:02 am

I did a trip similar to this in 2017 and we used an app called Rue des Vignerons to book many of our tastings throughout France. It worked really well, no one particularly well known but we enjoyed it. In Burgundy it was fun to meet some smaller producers that were willing to spend hours with us.

Here’s a link.

https://www.ruedesvignerons.com/en/

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