Sample the glory of Burgundy in a tour designed for value-seeking wine lovers
Terroirs of Burgundy with Robin Garr
July 2-7, 2007

Hotel Dieu in Beaune
A glimpse of the landmark lacquered tile roofs of the Hotel Dieu, home of les Trois Glorieuses, the Hospices de Beaune. Photo by Robin Garr during his 2004 wine tour.
Burgundy, one of the world's most glorious wine regions, is also one of the most difficult to learn. With its rich and ancient heritage, the map of Burgundy is intriguingly complex. More challenging still, Burgundy's rarity and great demand drives trophy-level prices, placing many of its greatest wines out of easy reach for most wine enthusiasts.

But what wine lover hasn't dreamed of touring Burgundy, meeting its wine makers and learning about its wines?

Now, with the respected wine-touring company French Wine Explorers, we've crafted a special, once-in-a-lifetime Terroirs of Burgundy tour aimed at providing thrifty, value-seeking wine lovers the rare opportunity to spend almost a week in Burgundy, enjoying VIP-style winery visits, comfortable accommodations and indulgent Burgundian meals in a varied group of typical regional bistrots and country inns.

We've been able to pull this together by bringing to bear some of the same techniques we all use to enjoy great wines without breaking the bank: We've consistently sought "QPR" ("Quality-Price Ratio") in our selection of restaurants accommodations, in many cases bypassing the most high-end luxury spots in favor of the frankly more representative bistrots and country inns that the French people themselves choose, without ever losing sight of the mandate to provide our tour group quality, comfort and a memorable travel experience in the most positive way.

If you've long dreamed of learning Burgundy and its wines with an expert at hand but thought you couldn't possibly afford it, I invite you to consider The Terroirs of Burgundy. I'll be personally leading the July 2-7, 2007 tour, and I promise maximum "bang for the buck" for thrifty wine lovers. The tour will be strictly limited to 16 participants at most, in order to ensure an intimate group of wine lovers touring the region together, enjoying a memorable wine experience that will send you home with memories to last a lifetime.

Here's the preliminary itinerary for the six-day, five-night tour:

Monday, July 2 (L, D)
Burgundy wine expert guide Colette Barbier will meet the group at 9:30 a.m. with a deluxe motor coach at the Dijon train station. Our first stop will be the Côte de Nuits, where the Pinot Noir grape is king. We'll begin your explorations of Burgundy with a tour and tasting at Domaine Bertagna, a top producer of Grand and Premiers Cru wines. We'll enjoy a delicious lunch of regional specialties at Le Chef Coq in Nuits St. Georges, an ancient hunting pavilion dating to the 16th century. Afterward, we'll visit the place where winemaking began in this region: the ancient Clos de Vougeot. After a guided tour of the Chateau with its amazing, massive 13th century wine presses, we'll taste the Grand Cru wine of this appellation at one of its best producers, Chateau de la Tour. We'll also enjoy a walking tour through the famous Grand Cru vineyards of Vosne Romanée including Romanée Conti and La Tâche. Arrive in Beaune in the late afternoon and check into our comfortable hotel, conveniently located on a quiet street just across the street from the walled historic district, the Ibis Beaune Centre (just five minutes from the Hospices de Beaune, shopping and restaurants). Our group welcome dinner will be at a Burgundy institution: Ma Cuisine in Beaune. You'll enjoy the special atmosphere of this small bistrot, where you'll sit at long tables, elbow to elbow with fellow wine lovers, and sample wines from Burgundy's most extensive restaurant wine list. A short, fun wine-tasting lesson at dinner will give us a common tasting language for our time together this week.

Meet the Burghound!
If we can make our schedules match - and we're working hard to make that happen - we'll get together for Tuesday lunch in the Mâconnais with my good friend and leading Burgundy expert Allen "Burghound" Meadows, whose Burghound.com is arguably the most highly regarded and respected journal about Burgundy.
Tuesday, July 3 (B, L)
We head south today to the Mâconnais, home to some of Burgundy's best wine values in appellations like Pouilly-Fuissé and Macon-Villages. Top producers we often visit in this area include Domaine de la Bongran, Verget or Domaine Ferret. We'll enjoy an elegant lunch along the way at Moulin du Gastronome, where we hope to catch up with my good friend, the respected Burgundy critic and writer Allen "Burghound" Meadows (see box), followed by a stop for sightseeing at the gorgeous medieval villages of Tournus and Brancion. Back to Beaune, you'll have an evening on your own, with our suggestions for great restaurants you might like to try. I'll welcome any of you who care to do so to join me for dinner.

Wednesday, July 4 (B, D)
Take the morning to explore the charming city of Beaune. Visit the famous 15th century Hospices de Beaune, check out the fabulous Athenaeum wine bookstore or the Wine Museum, or do some shopping in the town's many fine shops and galleries. After lunch on your own in town, we'll drive to the Côtes de Beaune to taste the elegant white and wines in renowned appellations like Puligny and Chassagne-Montrachet, Meursault and Volnay. We'll be targeting trips to producers for this day at the level of Bernard Morey and his peers. Dinner tonight will be in the ancient underground cellar at the excellent Caveau des Arches restaurant.

Thursday, July 5 (B, L)
Today we'll visit one of the other important and beautiful subregions of Burgundy: the Côte Chalonnaise, with lunch in a country inn along the way. Here you'll find more of Burgundy's best QPR wines in great red and white wine appellations like Givry, Mercurey and Rully. Two top producers will welcome us for tastings in these areas; we'll also visit the impressive Chateau Rully Bourgogne, a 12th century castle still inhabited by the family that owns it! We'll return to Beaune for another evening on our own.

Friday, July 6 (B, D)
On our final day in Burgundy, we'll return to the Côte de Nuits, concentrating today on QPR wines with tours and tastings at three top producers. Stop in the charming village of Nuits St. Georges for lunch at one of the town's many bistrots, and later we'll return to Beaune for a gastronomic farewell dinner on the lovely terrace of the Auberge du Cheval Noir.

Saturday, July 7 (B)
After breakfast, we will transfer guests back to the train station in Dijon. If you get up early, you can enjoy Beaune's wonderful weekly open-air market before our bus leaves the Ibis at 10:30 a.m.

Your six-day, five-night tour of Burgundy includes:

We have held the price, based on 16 guests, to an affordable US $2,995, double occupancy. The single supplement for this tour will be US$225.
Note: singles may share a twin room if they like, to avoid paying the single supplement.

Ibis Beaune Center
Located just outside the ramparts of the walled historic district of Beaune, the Hotel Ibis belongs to the respected Accor chain of hotels (Mercure/Sofitel/Ibis/Novotel). The location off a tree-lined side street is quiet, and there is a large outdoor terrace with swimming pool in the back. The modern rooms are all recently renovated, extremely clean, quiet and very comfortable. The en-suite full bathrooms have bathtub/shower and hair dryers, and the rooms have direct dial phone, air conditioning, Internet access and television. The hotel also has a restaurant serving Burgundian regional fare, and a pleasant breakfast room.

Interested? Don't delay! Here's how to join the tour

For more information or to make reservations for this July 2-7, 2007 tour, send E-mail to info@wine-tours-france.com or call 1-877-261-1500 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada).

Drop Robin Garr a note at wine@wineloverspage.com if you would like to discuss this or ask questions about any of our tours or wine travel in general.