Although Dijon is capital of the Côte d’Or département, the charming small town of Beaune is considered the wine capital of Burgundy.
The historic town is surrounded by some of the world’s most famous wine communities and appellations and the wine from Beaune vineyards is among the most sought after in the world.
Explore the landmarks of the wine capital of Burgundy
The picturesque town of Beaune has been home to the cellars of many producers and négociants for centuries and is a delightful backdrop for delving into the delights of the wines produced in the Beaune vineyards. Négociants such as Joseph Drouhin, Maison Bouchard and Bouchard Père et Fils have their doors open for visitors to sample the emblematic wines of the region and a small museum leads visitors through the history of the region and its wines. However, the town itself begs further exploration: a walled town where much of its Medieval ramparts, battlements and moat survive in good condition until this day. Its old town, vieille ville, boasts many historic buildings in the small streets spreading out from the central square with its old market hall. The narrow streets also offer plenty of opportunity for browsing the many gourmet food and wine shops that line their sides.
Home to France’s most important wine auction
The Hospices de Beaune, or Hotel-Dieu de Beaune, with its ornate glazed tile rooftops, dormer windows and half-timbered galleries, is an outstanding example of Renaissance architecture. Founded in 1442 as a charitable alms-house to house the needy and ill, the stunning building now houses a historical museum and is the venue for various prestigious events over the weekend of Les Trois Glorieuses held on the third Sunday of November each year. The most renowned wine auction in France takes place this weekend too, when Les Hospices, which continues as a non-profit organisation till this day, auctions around 45 cuvées of red and white wine from its 61 hectares of donated Beaune vineyards, many of which are Grand or Premier Cru. The town is bursting at the seams on this weekend, the highlight of the year, with numerous tasting events and black-tie dinners drawing wine lovers from all around the world.
Uncover the diverse terroirs of the Beaune vineyards
Beaune sits at the centre of the Côte d’Or with Côte de Nuits to the north and Côte de Beaune to the south, making famous appellations such as Vosne-Romanée and Gevrey-Chambertin within easy reach to the north. Heading south, however, you can traverse the vineyards of the Côte de Beaune on your way to Santenay. The road south will lead you through the vineyards of Pommard, which produces some of the most powerful reds of the Côte de Beaune, and Volnay, whose reds are considered to be elegant and delicate. Discover the village of Aloxe, dominated by the hill of Corton, giving rise to the name of the appellation – Aloxe-Corton, which incidentally boasts the sole Grand Cru appellation for red wine in Côte de Beaune vineyards. Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet are more famed for their whites from Chardonnay and also possess numerous Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards.
The rolling hills of Beaune vineyards hide a huge diversity of terroir, where every small change in exposition, altitude or soil means subtle differences in the resulting wines; Burgundy’s fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are most adept at translating these into the finished wines, making Burgundy one of the most complex regions in the world to understand.
Let our local experts at Wine Paths be your guides in discovering the rich tapestry that Beaune vineyards present to lovers of great wines.
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