A White Cote de Beaune

In the heart of Burgundy, France...

Hospice de Beaune

Hospice de Beaune in French white wine country

If you are looking for fine French wine and food, consider the world famous Burgundy region in eastern France. Although it’s fairly rare, you may even find a bargain. I hope that you’ll have fun on this fact-filled wine education tour in which we review a Chardonnay white wine coming from the Côte de Beaune region not far from the city of Dijon in northeastern France. Burgundy ranks fourth in acreage of France’s eleven wine-growing regions if you include the Beaujolais region, even though strictly speaking Beaujolais wines aren’t Burgundy wines; they don’t even use the same red grapes. A lot of people will tell you that Burgundy wine is the best in France, if not in the entire world. Perhaps one day we will review a really expensive Burgundy wine. Here we review a medium-priced Burgundy that comes from the oldest negociant (wine seller) in Burgundy.

The city of Beaune is about two hundred miles southeast of Paris. It is right in the heart of the Burgundy wine region, with Côte de Beaune to the south and Côte de Nuits to the north. Stop by the Twelfth Century church called Collégiale Notre-Dame that hosts a series of tapestries depicting the life of the Virgin Mary. You’ll enjoy the Marché aux Vins (Wine Market) where wine tasting is encouraged. And make sure to visit the famous Hospices de Beaune founded as a hospital for veterans of the Hundred Year’s War. The Grand’ Salle is truly grand, it is more than 150 feet (about 50 meters) long and still has some of the original furniture. In late November the Hospice hosts a world-class wine auction and fete.

Before reviewing the Burgundy wine and imported cheeses that we were lucky enough to purchase at a local wine store and local imported food store, here are a few suggestions of what to eat with indigenous wines when touring this beautiful region. Start with Gougère (Grated Cheese Pastry). For your second course savor Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stewed in Red Wine). And as dessert indulge yourself with Pain d’Épices (Gingerbread).

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Maison Champy Pernand-Vergelesses 2004 13% about $20.00

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. Tasting Note: The complex set of aromas includes apricot, lemon zest, pear, mineral, oak, and a hint of butter. This dry, youthful wine is good now and will become very impressive with a few years of maturation (2-4 years). This long finishing wine will work nicely with grilled trout or Chicken Kiev.

My first meal consisted of chicken hamburgers with harissa (a Tunisian hot pepper sauce), roasted potatoes cooked in chicken fat, and spicy pickle slices. The wine was quite round and sweet. (I might have guessed it to be a Riesling.) It tasted of lime and was somewhat unctuous with a great length. Frankly, it was too good for this simple meal.

The next meal involved stove-top chicken cooked in a soy-honey sauce with rice and green beans. The Burgundy was refreshingly acidic, tasting of white grapefruit and lemon. It was feathery and yet powerful. I don’t understand why it was sweet with the first meal, and certainly not sweet here.

The final meal was a packaged Eggplant Parmagiana to which I added grated Parmesan cheese. The wine was quite long, nice and fruity, with good acidity.

The first cheese pairing was with an Emmenthaler (Swiss) cheese that actually came from Germany. The wine was multilayered and nicely acidic but not sweet. I then tried this Chardonnay with goat cheese from the Poitou-Charentes region of central western France. The wine was muted but not flattened.

Final verdict. I would buy this wine again but not waste it on plebian food pairing. I really think it could hold its own with gourmet meals.

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine French or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine websites include    www.theworldwidewine.com    with a new weekly review of $10 wines and    http://www.wineinyourdiet.com devoted to the issues of wine, weight loss, and health.

Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com

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