Winter Burgundy Wine Tasting… Good or Bad Idea?

IMG_1305Second part in a series about Winter Burgundy wine tasting outside Dijon.

Winter time can be the best kept secret to wine tasting. No fighting crowds or lines at popular vineyards is appealing. So is the fact that the centuries old narrow streets are free from traffic and wineries are not in a rush to shove you out the door for the next tour group.

IMG_1303So the photo opportunities aren’t as interesting as when there are grapes on the vines, but I think the vines are still beautiful clipped to the nubs. The promise of what is to come is apparent and you get a much better feel for how the terrain varies from vineyard to vineyard. You focus on what the French call “the terroir” – the minerals, rocks, grade of the soil and climate of the land that feeds the grapes which in turn affects the quality of the grapes. Grand Cru sections of grapes stand side by side, above or below lesser quality rows. The terroir determines which is table wine, Premier Cru and Grand Cru. The price for the rows of grapes grown in Grand Cru certified areas is staggering!

IMG_1318Grapevines while in bloom are the star of the show, but in winter one becomes aware of the amazing old buildings flanking the vines. These gems can be overlooked when the greenery is in full bloom. It was interesting to focus on the areas where the grapes are crushed, not grown and where they are stored until they reach the pinnacle of their rich lives – in the barrels transforming from mere grape juice to nectar of the Gods.

Dating back to the 10th Century, the Abbey shown here still remains part of the backdrop in the Burgundy region. Monks and Nuns worked the vineyards separately for multiple centuries as part of their quiet meditative lives. God bless them!

Winter wine tasting…c’est manifique!

6 Comments
  • Nina
    Posted at 14:14h, 31 October Reply

    Hello Priscilla! I was researching about going to vineyards on winter and found your article. Someone told me that some places close in winter times, is that correct? Are you able to suggest some vineyards in Bourgogne to visit during this time? Thank you!

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 22:41h, 22 November Reply

      Hello Nina,
      Many wine tasting places close in the winter. My suggestion is for you to hire a guide or service who will know all the current closings and can schedule your visits for you.
      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  • Jeremy Branham
    Posted at 02:17h, 06 May Reply

    I love the perspective on this. You can actually drink wine any time of year. Wines take time to age so you never have to wine taste when the grapes are on the vine. So why do people go wine tasting only when the grapes are ripe? Probably because the grapes are part of the attraction. However, take them away and you notice everything else around it.

    The wine is still good and so is the view – if you look beyond the empty vines.

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 08:46h, 06 May Reply

      Jeremy,
      I am always honored when you read and comment on my blog!
      You truly got “it” – the fun is in the journey and discovering the unusual or behind the scene treasures.
      There will be more stories coming in my Burgundy series, so please stay tuned.
      Salut,
      Priscilla

    • samantha
      Posted at 09:33h, 13 November Reply

      Great article! Your notes on the beauty of the terroir encourage my fiance and I as we go to Burgundy for our honeymoon next month. Do you recommend any particular caves to visit in December, and if possible around the Montbard area? I know many vintners close or have limited hours this time of year. We are staying in Fain-les-Moutiers, but will have a car and can drive anyway in the Burgundy region. Thank you!

      • Weekend In Paris
        Posted at 08:54h, 20 November

        Hello Samantha! Lucky you – no crowds means more wine for you! I do not have this winter schedule for the vintners and suggest you look at the tourism sites because they list who is open or use Authentica Tours to plan and guide your visit since they have access that normal people do not.
        Enjoy!
        Priscilla

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