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This Week...

pam elson brings you Burgundy Today's roundup of news and events

january 30, 2015

Get away 2015

Make irresistible chocolates with a master chocolatier, chill out with a day's private charter on the river, compare and contrast Burgundy wines with those of another French region on a two centre break, polish up your cooking skills and combine the practical with a wine masterclass... Here are some new additions to popular activities in Burgundy

Cook with Confidence in Burgundy with Lynne Hammond

Lynne Hammond's cooking class, 'Cook with Confidence' (above) has proved a great success.  It can now be incorporated with a wine masterclass at the farmhouse near Autun over one or two days for a maximum of four people. The price is 295 euros for one day and 550 euros per person for two days.

Bernard Dufoux, Chocolatier in BurgundyIf chocolate is your weakness, head on down to La Clayette and have a four hour indulgence with master chocolatier Bernard Dufoux. His afternoon classes take place on the first Wednesday of the month, commencing on February 4 at 14.00. Orangettes, Truffes, pâtes d'amande, Griottes au kirsch and Palets d'Or are just a few of the specialities he will be demonstrating. The price of the class is 80 euros per person.

Burgundy Discovery Two Centre Wine TourIf wine is the reason for your Burgundy visit, Burgundy Discovery, the wine tour people, are now offering two centre trips. Two days in Burgundy is followed by a further two days in either the Loire, Savoy or Rhone valley with expert guides in each of the regions so that you can compare and contrast the wines. Prices vary according to the region but start at 900 euros per person.

The Randle by Edge Charter one day cruise from AuxerreFor a total chill out, take The Randle motor barge for a one day private charter from Auxerre down the river Yonne, stopping off for lunch at Vaux and wine tasting in Irancy or Chitry. The boat can take a maximum of six passengers and the total charter price for the day is 1500 euros. Make the most of the lazy days of summer.

Cycling holidays  in Burgundy ©Michel JolyBurgundy is a very bike friendly place. Not only are there designated cycle tracks, the Voie Vertes, and the canal towpaths, good signage, maps and tourist information, it is also easy to transport your bike from place to place on the trains, both on the local TER and TGV fast services. There is a special section on the SNCF website with all the information. Also see our Cycling sections.
(Photo Michel Joly)

january 23

Michelin Bonnes Petites Tablesthree for value

The launch of the Michelin Red Guide at the beginning of February is always a much heralded event. To whet the appetite, the 'Bib Gourmand' new entries have been announced. This category offers good value meals with a maximum price of 32 euros in the provinces and 36 euros in Paris. In Burgundy, Au fil du Zinc in Chablis, Les Bons Enfants in St-Julien-Du-Sault and Rouge et Blanc in Romanèche-Thorins receive the recommendation.

january 16

number 15 - burgundy's lucky number

Milan, Cuba, Philadelphia and Yellowstone National Park head up the list of the 52 places to go in 2015 in the New York Times. Amongst this list of illustrious destinations, Burgundy comes in at number 15. A great booster for the region. Here's Adam H. Graham's assessment:

Burgundy vineyards Photo BIVB Ibanez'Burgundy -  A Unesco candidate gets a redux and a renewed vigor.

Adieu Burgundy. Bonjour Bourgogne! The renowned wine region has ditched its musty Anglo moniker and reclaimed its French name in all official wine communications. With this rebrand come several changes and a new generation of winemakers and hoteliers. In 2014, the luxury conglomerate LVMH bought the Grand-Cru estate of Clos Des Lambrays near the village of Morey-St.-Denis, marking their entree to a region peppered with excellent vineyards. The picturesque hub of Beaune continues to draw interest with annual projects like Lumières de Beaune, light installations on the village’s half-timbered houses. Not to be outshone, Dijon is debuting a pair of projects this year: the new Vertigo, a Design Hotel opening in January; and a new beach on Lake Kir that’s made with 350 tons of imported sand. Bourgogne has also been nominated for Unesco’s 2015 World Heritage list, specifically for its 100 historic appellations that have deepened the collective understanding of the concept of terroir'. See the other contenders on the New York Times list.

Gourmet Weekend at L'Abbaye de la Bussiere

Abbaye de la Bussiere BurgundyFollowing the success of the 2014 weekend, L'Abbaye de la Bussière in the Ouche valley and leading Burgundy wine event specialists, Bringing Burgundy To You, have joined forces once again to create a weekend of great food, superb wine and amazing accommodation. The Abbaye is an incredible 11th century former monastery now converted into a luxury hotel with a Michelin starred restaurant. It nestles in a private park between Dijon and Beaune in the heart of Burgundy.

This weekend provides Burgundy wine lovers with the opportunity to enjoy some of the regions top wines including the Grands Crus through a tutored tasting at the Ecole des Vins, during private Domaine visits and paired with the exquisite cuisine, in superb surroundings.

The price is €1650 per person and includes accommodation for three nights at Abbaye de la Bussière, all lunches and dinners, wine tastings and chauffeured transport throughout. Travel to and from the hotel is excluded. The dates are March 26 to 29. Full programme and reservation

the skills of the Neanderthal

Bone tools from Grottes d'Arcy BurgundyMarilyn Floyde mentioned in her article on the Grottes d'Arcy that bone fragments have been discovered in caves dating back 250,000 years. Much more information is coming to the fore as the results of the annual dig at the Grotte du Bison at Arcy-sur-Cure in June 2014 reveal that the bone tools were used by Neanderthal man dating to between 55,000 and 60,000 years of age. These findings by Luc Doyon and a group from the University of Montreal have just been published in the Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française. The edges of the implements have been honed with a hard surface, probably rock, and the
tools are thought to have been used for butchering game and
multiple uses such as scraping hides.

january 9

Quintessentially Burgundian holiday rentals direct from the owner

Holiday home for rental in Burgundy Holiday rental in Burgundy Holiday home for rental in Burgundy
A rural idyll, former winemaker's home in Change near Beaune, sleeps six, Ref: 1394406

Near Pouilly-en-Auxois close to the Canal de Bourgogne, sleeps six, Ref: 924220a

Charming French home at Chandon de Brialles near Beaune, sleeps six, Ref: 361544

by the book

Here are three new wine books to browse through that caught our eye. Land and Wine by Charles Frankel, a geologist with a love of wine, looks at terroir across France; Jamie Goode, journalist and founder of wineanorak.com studies Wine Science and Wink Lorch talks about the wines of the Jura in Franche-Comté with local food and travel tips. See Wine guidebooks

With the garden in hibernation, study your favourite garden books and make plans for spring planting. 'My favourites at the moment', says Lucia Latenstein, 'are the series e-books of Michael King: Perennial Meadows. They consist of ready made planting schemes. There are six e-books:  Introduction, Prairie, Dry Steppe, Open Perennial, Wet Perennial and Shady, € 4,99 each.' See Lucia's January planting article and order your plants from her for February delivery.

january 1 2015

A big year for Burgundy as a decision will be made this summer on whether the application 'Les Climats du vignoble de Bourgogne' succeeds in giving the Burgundy vineyards a UNESCO heritage ranking. And, as the amalgamation of the Bourgogne region with the Franche-Comté begins for the January 2016 completion, what changes will take place? Will Dijon be the capital of the region or Besançon for example? Football doesn't escape discussion either. More as the year unfolds.

Beaujolais Wine Region, photo Gillet, Inter Beaujolaisfrench region of the year

Beaujolais, says Anthony Peregrine in The Telegraph, ' is the only major wine region (in France) that embraces the stuff with joy and conviviality, rather than with the insane pretence that wine is a branch of high culture'. He nominates this area, part of which lies in Burgundy and part in the Rhône-Alpes, as his region of 2014. Known for its wine, there are very few tourists, 'gorgeous goldstone spots such as Ternand and Bois d'Oignt', and a warm welcome too. More...  
Stay at chambres d'hôte Rougeclos or chambres d'hôte Plaisances in St-Julien

starck contrast

Mama Shelter Paris Arguably the most influential interior designer in the world, Philippe Starck has come up with Mama Shelters, a chain of budget hotels. Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux and Marseille are open. 'They’re playful, comprehensible, practical, have free movies in the bedrooms and sex toys for sale in the lobby' says Anthony Peregrine writing in The Telegraph. Can't we have this innovative concept in Burgundy?

natural winemaking

We may imbibe a little too much over the next fortnight but hopefully it will not induce the headache of years gone by after a good night out with a bottle of plonk. Techniques and processes in winemaking have become more sophisticated and we have become increasingly conscious of the methods used to produce the drink we consume. When it comes to wine, the organic wine movement has had considerable influence in making a purer end result. 

There has been a lot in the news in Burgundy with the case of Emmanuel Giboulot,  a biodynamic winemaker, who refused to spray his vines with pesticide to protect against a deadly vine disease. He saw his conviction overturned on appeal earlier this month in Dijon. 

Burgundy Vineyard, Copyright Per Karlsson, BKWine PhotographyBritt and Per Karlsson, Paris residents hailing from Sweden are wine experts, writing and photographing the subject, hosting wine tours and appearing on judging panels. Their first book to be published in English is called Biodynamic, Organic and Natural Winemaking; Sustainable Viticulture and Viniculture. It looks at the do’s and don’ts of organic, biodynamic and natural wine production, both outside in the vineyard and in the wine cellar and sets out clearly what a winemaker is allowed to do, including processes, additives and chemicals, and looks at the potential long-term benefits of going organic or biodynamic. The book doesn't focus on the wine regions of the world, but Burgundy producers are well represented, and as Britt says: “Burgundy has had an active organic movement ever since the early 90s. Today the roll call of organic growers in Burgundy is a list of some of the most famous and sought after wine growers in France and in the world.” Biodynamic, Organic and Natural Winemaking: Sustainable Viticulture and Viniculture is available on Amazon, a good introduction to the subject for wine enthusiasts and professionals alike. Photo above right : © Per Karlsson, BKWine Photography

Celebrating the Morvan

An exhibition of 33 photographs by Jean-Baptiste Stéphane is on in Nevers to show the beauty of the Morvan Natural Park entitled 'Le Morvan, Une Montagne de Talents'. The Parc Naturel Regional du Morvan in partnership with the Conseil Général de la Nièvre has staged the exhibition on the Place de la Résistance and Rue Charles Roy in Nevers and it will run until February 28.

Fondu in the Franche Comte, photo franche-comte.orgBurgundy and Franche-Comte Joined at the hip

The Burgundy Franche-Comté union has been agreed. The bill creates 13 major metropolitan areas instead of the 22 at present. See our overview of Franche-Comté, an area well worth visiting if you love the great outdoors. magnificent scenery and much much more. For wine lovers, journey time from Nuits-St-Georges to the wine area at Arbois in the Jura is only an hour by car.

How is Burgundy Wine Made?

After the harvest, what happens to the grapes to turn them into wine? We look at the intricate winemaking process for red and white wine from harvest to bottling.See our step-by-step guide.

Making red wine in Burgundy, photo BIVB making red wine in Burgundy, image, BIVB making white wine in Burgundy, photo BIVB making white wine in Burgundy, photo BIVB

The Top 10 Attractions in Burgundy

Our list of must-see places to visit during your stay in the Burgundy region from the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune (centre) to the Grand Cru wine route (left), Vézelay and Guédelon (right). More...

Clos de Vougeot, ©Michel Joly Hotel Dieu, Hospices de Beaune Burgundy Guedelon Burgundy

Pam Elson ©burgundytoday.com


Burgundy Today Cryptic Crossword Solutions


1. Nevers,   4. Tenant, 9. Noël, 10. Prodigious, 11. Bateau, 12&23 down Burgundy Today, 13. Kilometer, 15. Père, 16. Acts, 17. Reveillon, 21. Exported, 22. Petite, 24. A Rare Error, 25. Dope, 26. Events, 27. Troyes


1. Neo Nazi, 2. Valse, 3. Rupture, 5. Emigré, 6 .Adieu Nell, 7. Trundle, 8. Double headers, 14. Outsource, 16. Auxerre, 18. Emperor, 19. Octopus, 20. Street. 23.  See 12 across