With its famous wines, relaxing countryside, and gourmet cuisine, not to mention its traditional towns set among an extensive network of waterways and cycle paths, the French region of Burgundy is the perfect place to hide away.
After four weeks of non-stop football and the crazy sound of vuvuzelas, it’s time for a change and some proper relaxation time. With its famous wines, relaxing countryside, and gourmet cuisine, not to mention its traditional towns set among an extensive network of waterways and cycle paths, the French region of Burgundy is the perfect place to hide away.(Photograph: Alain Doire_Bourgogne Tourisme)All over the world the name Burgundy is synonymous with exceptional wine. From Beaune and Chablis through to M�con and Nuits-Saint-Georges, the vineyards of Burgundy are an extraordinarily rich, complex, and overawing experience!There’s nothing more rewarding than getting to know these localities or terroirs and the people who work in them. With 102 appellations and 33 grands crus spread out over a small area producing barely 0.5% of the world’s wine output, Burgundy is as unpretentious as it is famous. It is also incredibly diverse. From one vineyard to another, one vintage to another, one climate to another, the wines of Burgundy vary immensely. The reds, whites and ros�s bring out all the qualities of the pinot noir and chardonnay grape varieties which flourish in Burgundy as nowhere else. Let’s not forget the cr�mant de Bourgogne, the sparkling wine which is so much at home here, especially in the Ch�tillon area.There are many different route des vins, with itineraries through the main wine growing areas of the region.
The Grand Cru Wine Road (Route des Grands Crus), sometimes referred to as the “Champs-Elys�es of Burgundy”, runs from Dijon to Santenay by way of Nuits-St-Georges and Beaune, introducing visitors to 24 of the region’s 33 grand cru wines. The Grands Vins Wine Road (Route Touristique des Grands Vins de Bourgogne) takes you through the vineyards of the Maranges, the Couchois and the C�te Chalonnaise. The M�connais-Beaujolais Wine Road (Route des Vins M�connais-Beaujolais) winds its way through the southernmost part of the Burgundy wine area and gives you a chance to discover the Roche de Solutr� and the landscapes which inspired the locally born poet Alphonse Lamartine. In the north of the region, the Yonne Wine Road (Route Touristique des Vins de l’Yonne) offers visitors a choice of several circuits around Chablis, Auxerre, V�zelay, Tonnerre and Joigny. The recently opened Sparkling Wine Road (Route du Cr�mant) takes visitors to the area around Ch�tillon-sur-Seine. Right in the west of the region, outside the boundaries of the official Burgundy appellation but nevertheless situated on the territory of the Burgundy Region, the Coteaux de Pouilly-Sancerre Wine Road (Route des Coteaux de Pouilly-Sancerre) takes the traveller to the Burgundian part of the Val de Loire.(Photograph: Alain Doire_Bourgogne Tourisme)Tours are available by bike, self-drive, public transport or as part of an excursion – which may be the best option if for visitors intending to sample a good few of the wines! Many of the wineries also offer accommodation, so you can enjoy the full experience of a gourmet meal. Almost 300 winegrowers have signed up to the Quality Charter guaranteeing visitors a royal welcome in the true Burgundy art de vivre style. Whether you’re a budding wine-connoisseur or just enjoy sampling fine wines, Burgundy should be on your must see’ list of places to visit.For more information about the region and to organise your next trip, visit www.burgundybyrail.co.uk