8 Days in French Wine Country


Wine Tasting, Scenic Drives & More
© Bluejayphoto/iStock/Thinkstock

This weeklong itinerary encompasses the best of Burgundy, including stops in the unspoiled countryside near Chablis as well as those in the hallowed Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits areas. It may be sensible to hire a driver, at least for the sections of the itinerary that include winery visits. 

The Andrew Harper Travel Office can help with transportation arrangements and winery appointments, the latter in conjunction with Andrew Harper Wine Concierge Hal Oates, founder and owner of Porthos.

Our itineraries are for your inspiration. If you do not see specific departure dates listed, please contact Andrew Harper Travel to customize this itinerary to fit your needs.
Highlights

    • Taste Burgundy's renowned wines
    • Tour historic châteaux
    • Stay in a 16th-century estate surrounded by nature
    • Visit Chablis and the surrounding Chardonnay vineyards
    • Take a scenic drive through the pastoral Burgundian countryside


Day 1 : Drive to Burgundy

Pick up a rental car and depart Paris. Drive 90 miles southwest to Joigny to have lunch at La Côte Saint-Jacques, a renowned Michelin two-star restaurant in the hotel of the same name, which overlooks the Yonne river (closed Monday).

From Joigny, it’s just 40 minutes south through pastoral Burgundian countryside to La Borde, a true hideaway in a 16th-century estate surrounded by 17 acres of forest, lawns and formal gardens. Have dinner at the hotel, where meals are prepared by its owner.

Day 2 : Day Trip to Chablis

Make a day trip from La Borde to Chablis, a charming village surrounded by some of the best Chardonnay vineyards in the world. Explore the town, and do a tasting of grand cru wines at S. Chablis. If instead you prefer to visit a winery, the tasting room of Domaine Long-Depaquit faces gardens and a small château just outside the old village center.

Have lunch about 30 minutes away in picturesque Auxerre at Le Jardin Gourmand, which has mansionlike interiors and a small but pleasant terrace (closed Monday and Tuesday, Sunday night except for July and August). The city of Auxerre, rising from a hillside along the Yonne River, also merits exploration. Don’t miss the unique ninth-century frescoes in the crypt of the Abbey of Saint-Germain d’Auxerre.

Return to La Borde this afternoon and take some time to relax by the pool before dinner.

Day 3 : Drive to Beaune

Depart La Borde and drive an hour southeast to Vézelay, a pretty (if touristy) hill town capped by a dramatic Romanesque basilica. Be sure to inspect the capitals of the columns inside the basilica, many of which have sculptures of surreal creatures.

From Vézelay, you could stop in charming Avallon en route to the A6 highway, the fastest route to Beaune. However, I prefer the winding, forested drive through the mountainous Morvan region, where I like to visit the semirestored Château de Chastellux — French-language tours of the interior are at 11:15 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and include extensive written descriptions in English — and the Château de La Rochepot, which looks straight out of a fairy tale with its many spire-topped turrets.

Depending on your preferences, check into either Le Cep, a 65-room hotel with an extensive new spa in the heart of the city of Beaune, or the Hostellerie de Levernois, a villa-like property amid 11 acres of parkland with just 26 chic accommodations and a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Day 4 : Explore Beaune

Take a day in Beaune (10 minutes from the Hostellerie de Levernois). Visit the Hospices de Beaune, which is famous for its striking tile mosaic roof, luminous Rogier van der Weyden polyptych and its annual charity wine auction. Walk through the lively Place Carnot, and have lunch at Le Jardin des Remparts, which serves extravagantly delicious but unfussy cuisine in a shady garden setting (closed Sunday and Monday).

In the afternoon, head outside the city walls to Millésimes à la Carte, a contemporary wine shop which offers tastings of six Burgundian grands crus. When we visited, the knowledgeable owner was serving sumptuous whites from Corton-Charlemagne and Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet and gorgeously elegant reds from Corton Clos du Roi and Echezeaux among other superb Burgundy wines.

Alternatively, visit Maison Camille Giroud, located near the Hospices de Beaune. David Croix has been at the helm for over a decade, and his wines, sourced from famed premier cru vineyards such as Poruzots in Meursault and Les Vergers in Chassagne-Montrachet, display pinpoint precision. In total, Camille Giroud offers more than 30 almost invariably superb bottlings annually, a majority of which are Pinot Noir.

Return to your hotel, and have dinner in Beaune or at the Hostellerie de Levernois.

Day 5 : Côte de Beaune

Explore the Côte de Beaune today, starting in the village of Meursault at the striking cellars of Domaine de Montille. This domaine has origins that predate the French Revolution and a “modern” history that started in 1863 with the great-grandfather of our host, current owner Étienne de Montille. The quality of the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs here is quite impressive, most notably the Chevalier-Montrachet, a grand cru, and the Vosne-Romanée, a premier cru sourced from the Aux Malconsorts vineyard adjacent to the vines of La Tâche.

Have lunch in the Michelin-starred Le Montrachet restaurant in Puligny-Montrachet, ideally on the terrace, or if you prefer something light and simple, you might assemble a picnic for yourself. The fromager Alain Hess in Beaune is a good place to start shopping for ingredients.

In the afternoon, visit the Domaine Morey-Coffinet in the heart of the village of Chassagne-Montrachet. Its dramatic cellar dates back to the 16th century, and its wines have a tremendous quality-to-price ratio. Morey-Coffinet’s wines cost far less than bottlings by more well-known domaines from the same grand cru vineyards, including vineyards such as Clos de Vougeot and Bâtard-Montrachet. Thibault Morey was a gracious host with a modest and soft-spoken demeanor that belies his tremendously expressive and deliciously hedonistic wines.

Return to your hotel for evening relaxation.

Day 6 : Drive to Côte de Nuits

Check out of your hotel, and head north to the Côte de Nuits, the stretch of mostly Pinot Noir vineyards between Dijon and Beaune.

Start with a visit of the historic Château du Clos de Vougeot, founded in the 12th century by Cistercian monks. Most of the current imposing structure dates from the 16th century, but its immense medieval wine presses remain. The banqueting hall hosts the annual feast of La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, an order of some 12,000 knights dedicated to promoting the culture, wine and cuisine of Burgundy.

Have lunch nearby in the Clos Prieur restaurant of the Château de Gilly, where you can dine on either a leafy terrace or beneath the Gothic vaults of the interior.

Check into either the Château du Petit Musigny in the wine village of Chambolle-Musigny, or the Abbaye de la Bussière, which is found in a garden setting along the Ouche River. The former is charming, simple and in the heart of the Côte de Nuits within walking distance of some nice bistros. The Abbaye is less convenient to the Côte de Nuits, but it offers more luxurious public spaces and accommodations, plus an atmospheric Michelin-starred restaurant.

Take the rest of the afternoon to rest and enjoy yourself at your hotel.

Day 7 : Explore Côte de Nuits

Drive to Gevrey-Chambertin, home to Domaine Denis Mortet, a modern winery exclusively focused on reds. In a relatively short period of time, Mortet has amassed a portfolio of wines from the most prestigious premier cru and grand cru vineyards in Burgundy. We were mesmerized by the excellence of his 2015 vintage barrel samples, which winemaker Arnaud Mortet called his “most stress-free vintage in a decade.” Our highest praise went to the ethereal Clos de Vougeot, Bonnes-Mares and Chambertin grand cru vineyard bottlings.

Have lunch in Chambolle-Musigny at the stylish Le Millésime restaurant, which has a superlative wine list and relatively simple but delicious cuisine (closed Sunday and Monday). My veal with chanterelle mushrooms paired stupendously with a glass of Corton-Charlemagne from Domaine Morey-Coffinet.

After lunch, visit Domaine Charles Audoin in the village of Marsannay-la-Côte at the far northern end of the Côte de Nuits. Jovial proprietor Cyril Audoin is a fifth-generation winemaker, and his domaine has produced wine continuously since 1850. The original cellar, still used for barrel-aging, resembles Gothic catacombs. Domaine Charles Audoin has a refreshingly value-minded portfolio of bottlings that are mostly priced under $100, including a unique and delightful Pinot Noir rosé.

Return to your hotel to relax.

Day 8 : Return Home or Extend Your Trip

Drive to Dijon, return your rental car at the train station and return to Paris by rail. Alternatively, continue your road trip and head south into Beaujolais. One of my longtime favorite French hideaways, the Château de Bagnols, is only about two hours from either the Abbaye de la Bussière or the Château du Petit Musigny.

8 Days in French Wine Country

Contact an Andrew Harper Travel advisor to book your custom itinerary.

or call (630) 734-4610