The grand cru wines of Burgundy are among the most coveted and expensive wines in the world. Most wineries in Burgundy offer at least a premier cru wine as part of a tasting, and they may also pour a grand cru or two. But it is rare to be able to taste several grand cru wines in a row.
The friendly venues below offer precisely that opportunity. These wine shops with tasting rooms charge reasonable prices, and because you pay for the tasting, there is no obligation for you to purchase a bottle.
This bright and cheerful place in the heart of Chablis offers one of the best deals in all of Burgundy: tastes of four local grands crus for 14 euro. The good-humored owner, Arnaud, speaks perfect English and is happy to tailor a tasting to your palate. It was fascinating to try Chablis from four different grand cru vineyards — La Moutonne, Les Clos, Les Preuses and Vaudésir — ranging in age from 3 to 12 years old. The richness and force of top-quality Chablis never fail to amaze me.
8 Rue Auxerroise, Chablis. Tel. (33) 3-86-46-32-85
It’s well worth the short taxi ride to this contemporary wine shop and tasting room outside Beaune’s center. For 40 euro per person we tasted six grands crus, including sumptuous whites from Corton-Charlemagne and Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet and elegant reds from Corton Clos du Roi and Echezeaux. As we tasted, knowledgeable owner Thierry came over to discuss the various terroirs and winemakers.
Millésimes à la Carte
1 Rue du Moulin Noize, Beaune. Tel. (33) 3-80-20-68-68
I used to love this tasting venue, housed in the atmospheric cellars and vaulted interior of Beaune’s 15th-century Cordeliers church. Candles provided much of the illumination, and one could taste as much as one liked, including of premier and grands crus. Now the cellars are brightly lit, the best wines are dispensed penuriously from an Enomatic machine and an art gallery displaying garish knockoffs of Jeff Koons and Jackson Pollock occupies much of the old church. What a shame.
Marché aux Vins
7 Rue de l'Hôtel-Dieu, Beaune. Tel. (33) 3-80-25-08-20