Moulin à Vent
Steven Spurrier in Burgundy
Rock of Solutré, Mâconnais
Southern Burgundy Master Class
11 - 15 October 2010
Steven Spurrier has chosen to host this year’s Masterclass in the now stellar region of Southern Burgundy and the neighbouring and renascent Beaujolais Cru, and with the magnificent harvest of 2009 which was particularly successful here, this is extremely timely. “I can’t tell you how enthusiastic I am about these wines… the perfect antidote to Bordeaux 2009 madness.” 2009 – the year of Beaujolais” Jancis Robinson, July 2010
Dramatic improvements have taken place in wine in the south of Burgundy over recent years and the wine trade is very excited about what is happening here, so much so, that several of the most prestigious Burgundian wine estates have been investing heavily here in recent years, rather than looking to the New World. Steven feels that now is the time for wine lovers to look at this region – hence this exciting brand new tour.
Like the 2009 Burgundy Masterclass this special tour will call on Steven’s favourite producers in the region, where, of course we will be guaranteed a privileged insight into the wines. We will spend time personally getting to know the winemakers, being invited into their homes as welcomed guests. Like this year’s Masterclass the wine itinerary is full and quite intense and we will of course taste the best wines of the region.
Our base for the five day tour is the deluxe Georges Blanc hamlet, which makes up much of the village of Vonnas. Here there is a 5 star Relais & Châteaux hotel, and in the village itself, a most attractive Auberge ‘the Residence des Saules’, (officially rated as 3 star). There is a superb spa and swimming pool available to all guests and of course there are the restaurants: a traditional restaurant, L’Ancienne Auberge, in the village, a recreation of Mother Blancs establishment from the early 20th century and the famous Michelin *** gourmet restaurant ‘Georges Blanc’, next to the 5 star hotel.
At A&C we are great fans of this beautiful region, we have long followed these wines and in the past have not hesitated to include the best châteaux in Pouilly-Fussé or Côte de Brouilly in our top level Burgundy tours. This is the first ever high level tour of the Southern Burgundy & Beaujolais – a wine tour not to be missed!
Day 1 – Monday 11 October
We will meet in Mâcon and for our first visit we will set off immediately to the name that first put Beaujolais on the serious wine map; Georges Duboeuf. A member of the Duboeuf family meets us at Romanche Thorins where we taste the wines from the most famous estate in the region. As well as their colourfully labelled range of very good Beaujolais wines, they also do exemplary bottling of individual growers and make fine single vineyard selections.
We continue to our base in Vonnas and dinner will be at the Georges Blanc’s L’Ancienne Auberge at Vonnas.
Day 2 – Tuesday 12 October
On Tuesday, our focus is on the wonderful white wines from Pouilly-Fuissé at Steven Spurrier’s personal selection of the two top domaines: Domaine Baraud in Vergisson produce 6 different wines from individual parcels of land, all organically farmed. We also taste at the lovely estate of Château de Fuissé, who has been receiving A&C Pouilly-Fuissé loving clients for two decades. We will have a sensational tasting of their single vineyard selections. We will have a lunch at one of their premises or at the local auberge with their wines.
This evening we get together with representatives from ‘Les Artisans Vignerons de Bourgogne du Sud’, an association of small, high quality producers from this region including Comtes Lafon (of Meursault) and local heroes such as Domaine Saumaise. We taste their wines over a dinner at a venue of their choice.
Day 3 – Wednesday 13 October
We’ll visit and taste at Château des Jacques, the Louis Jadot southern outpost in Moulin à Vent on Wednesday. Their wines are perhaps the most serious, heavy weight wines of the Beaujolais Cru. Wine consultant (& Steven’s friend) Denise Diesen kindly welcomes us to her magnificent home for lunch and to taste a selection of her favourite wines from Fleurie and Morgon. Dinner will be in a highly recommended traditional restaurant.
The after lunch visit is to Villa Ponciago, (renamed from Poncie by new owners Henriot, who also own Bouchard Pere and William Fevre). Henriot firmly believe that they have acquired premium terroir and remarks that before the 1950’s top Beaujolais fetched the same prices as premier Grand Cru Classe wines and top Burgundies. Henriot says. ‘We’ve tasted a 1929 Château Poncié and it’s still a fantastic wine. There’s no reason why we can’t do the same thing today.’ He intends to emphasise the Fleurie and Poncié names more than Beaujolais, on the basis that ‘the problem is the reputation of Beaujolais, not the crus.’
Day 4 – Thursday 14 October
We have a busy day today starting with a tasting with the top producer, Vincent Audras, in the granitic based Julienas. We spend the rest of the day in Brouilly, whose vineyards are planted on porphyry, a hard volcanic rock. We start with M. Geoffray at Château Thivin to taste his terroir-packed Côte de Brouilly; then at the huge estate, Château de Pierreux, with its impressive fairy-tale chateau to match, we are kindly invited to taste over lunch. Our final visit is at Château de la Chaise, with its delightful gardens.
Our final dinner together is at our hotel’s Michelin Triple Rosette restaurant.
Day 5 – Friday 15 October
Our final tastings of this fascinating trip are in the Southern Beaujolais region of the Pierres Dorées – the golden stones. We taste at Domaine de Vissoux with the Chermette family and then with Jean-Paul Brun at his Domaine des Terres Dorées. This is the great out-performing estate of Beaujolais that shows what even the simple Beaujolais A.C is capable of. Jean-Paul grows a little Pinot Noir and some Chardonnay.
At Lyons, we will arrange for the coach to drop off for a train at late lunchtime as well as a train late afternoon so that you can enjoy a brief lunch in the city if you wish.This is not included but we will provide our restaurant list so that you can either choose a Michelin rosette meal or a ‘bouchon’.
Please note: this itinerary is subject to change if Steven and our tour design team feel that further improvements can be made and if any of the estates are unable to receive us in the manner described.
Please see our NEW video of Steven Spurrier talking about the Beaujolais vintage 2009 for our Southern Burgundy Masterclass tour: