As usual, my jaunts outside Paris seem to revolve around wine. The side-trip to Dijon was no exception. I contacted a knowledgeable guide named Emmanuel with Authentica Tours to show us around for the day into the Grand Cru region of Burgundy. Emmanuel had some great connections; one of them being award-winning Viticulteur Gérard Quivy. His 2009 vintage wines have a two out of three stars rating with The Hachette Guide. The Hachette Guide is THE reference in France for wine. And while winter was not the ideal photo op time of year, it sure seemed the best to beat the crowds and enjoy a small private wine tasting. Let’s meet a Burgundy wine grower up close and personal.
Very common in the French wine regions, wine makers cellars and production facilities are attached to their homesteads. Gérard Quivy, a modest, distinguished, accomplished, and typically good-looking Frenchmen invited us into his home to taste three levels of Gevrey-Chambertin Red Burgundy wines. We entered the clearly centuries old wine tasting room and were mesmerized by both the architecture and incredible antique furnishings in use that are older than the United States. Europeans do not bat and eyelash about historical homes such as these, however, I could not help but admire the fact that one family has been living and working here for generations.
While Mr. Quivy is a traditional man and winemaker, he clearly has vision and modern ideas about how to expose new generations to his wine. Gérard speaks English very well, is well traveled and has modernized a part of his home to showcase his product. Part of the original floor to this room has a cut-a-way replaced with glass that enables visitors who are tasting to peek at the oak barrels down below in the caves without actually having to let groups down inside. You see the more the door opens to the caves where the wine is stored, the greater the risk of a temperature change no matter how slight. Consistency is crucial to a vintage wine being stored so he limits those who go down into the cellar, but smartly, he wants to connect his visitors to the process.
Mr. Quivy is a smart marketer, but more importantly he is an intelligent wine maker. He owns some of the best vines in the Burgundy region and produces both Village wines and Grand Cru variations. Préau, a Village appellation from de la Côte de Nuits is a tasty wine that one can open immediately. Next we tasted two different Les Journeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin fabulous wines. One was a 2008 and the other 2009. Lisa purchased a 2009 Les Journeaux; a wine I found to be fruity yet weighty and dry enough to please my fussy palette.
We were, of course, dying to taste the vintage 2009 Grand Cru Charmes-Chambertin bottle sitting nearby, but were told that not only was this the last bottle on display, but it was award winning and sadly not for sale. Never satisfied with being told, “No.” I insisted that I must have a bottle to take home to my husband. Mr. Quivy eventually agreed and I am happy to report that the bottle made it back safely to the States and it is lying in my wine cooler awaiting optimal time to open which Emmanuel told me is between 2017-2019. Emmanuel says that the Charmes-Chambertin “…will be perfect with an haunch (piece) of venison or even with a good Burgundy Epoisses cheese. Just open it 1 – 1 1/2 hours before you drink it. No decanter is required.”
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