Romanée-Conti, Clos des Lambrays, Clos de Tart, Chambertin, Montrachet, La Tâche – the mere mention of these names is sufficient to set the hearts of Burgundy aficionados fluttering. So just imagine for a moment that you could spend a weekend in the place where they are produced and taste 33 of these legendary wines. This is the premise behind the 33 Grands Crus Wine Experience. Feast your eyes!
A single white or red grape variety and 1,463 climats (specific plots). It is this complexity which exerts such a fascination over Burgundy enthusiasts worldwide, since no other wine-producing region can boast such precisely defined terroirs. At the very top of the hierarchy of climats are 33 grands crus, all located in the Yonne and Côte d’Or regions, some of which have existed since the Middle Ages. The very first mention of a vine-growing lieu-dit (topographical area) dates from 640 (Clos de Bèze)! There are no grands crus in the Côte chalonnaise or Mâcon regions because the boundary line ran south of Meursault – cast your mind back to the film La Grande Vadrouille (Don’t Look Now… We’re Being Shot At!) J. The classification of premier and grand cru climats only began in 1942. The occupying forces could not requisition premier and grand cru wines freely and so this designation protected wine producers. Wine producers in the Free Zone decided to wait until the war was over before following suit, but the classification has still not been implemented!
When you taste a grand cru, you are therefore reliving the wine-producing history of Burgundy. First and foremost, however, you are tasting wines produced on hallowed ground, combining the perfect conditions required to produce fine grapes: generally a mid-slope location where the soil is the poorest and exposure to sunlight is greatest. These wines are now sought after worldwide and the small production volume makes them extremely rare (La Romanée, the smallest of all, spans just 0.85 hectares).
But perhaps all that is required to unravel the mysteries of Burgundy is simply to organise a unique tasting bringing together these 33 exceptional wines. This is the rather crazy gamble taken by the wine tourism agency Bourgogne Gold Tour with its 33 Grands Crus Wine Experience. Founder Youri Lebault has spent a year meeting the owners of the various domaines whose bottles are marketed in tiny quantities. Only one tour will take place each year, offering the opportunity to taste each of these bottles, in groups of 5 or 6, at the domaines or in one of the finest restaurants in Burgundy with wine and food pairings specially devised for the event at Bernard Loiseau’s Hostellerie de Levernois, or at William Frachot’s establishment. These grand crus may, of course, be topped up with the very best premiers crus (Cros Parantoux, Les Amoureuses etc.).
The tour, which lasts for two or three days, is targeting the high-end, à la carte market. According to its founder: “The main thing is to take it slowly”. This is certainly true, as few wine tasters can boast that they have tasted all these grands crus in the space of a few days for the purposes of comparison. The cost of the tour has not been released, but the agency has alluded to a price of “several tens of thousand of euros”. Dreams don’t come cheap.
Before treating yourself to this unique wine marathon, why not start off by tasting one of these legendary names. Rumour has it that all these wines have already featured on iDealwine. 😉
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Read further on iDealwine Le Blog:
- Auction Report 10 & 31 August: summer trends
- Auction Report 20 July: collectable Cote de Nuits from Noellat and Clair-Dau
- Auction Report 15 June: mature vintages from top Burgundy estates on the rise
- Auction Report 1 June: marked success for the big names from the Rhône
- Auction Report 25 May: Top Alsace & Rhône: La Chapelle 1961
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