Bourgogne et Moi - Wines 101

Once a beer drinker, ask me about wine & I'll say they all taste the same to me. Although amid family & friends who appreciate good wine, my interest never went beyond drinking it as if it was water on the table. So what better time to be more curious & to scratch the surface a little bit more by spending a weekend of degustation in the Route des Grands Vins de Bourgogne, or Burgandy's Fine Wines Route. In Vino Veritas, Chateau de Pommard

Well, it was not so much the ones that you will easily find online or from a Burgandy map from the tourist office. We are not guided by people in suits or white aprons but of farmers with a permanent tan & strong working hands. We considered ourselves privileged for wine tasting in the local wine merchants home is by invitation. Although a bit remote from the tourist's route, they produce great wines for generations & are known by mere word of mouth (Côte de Beaune & Chalonnaise). The region is not only known for its great wines but is likewise gastronomically splendid.

Our wonderful hotel Fontaine de Baranges, Buxy is a 19th century restored religious school. Surprisingly, their rate is reasonable compared to your common hotels. There is not one same room in the 17 rooms. The Reception area, our Suite, the terrace outside our room facing a quiet garden.

Since degustation is done in the wine merchant's home, we prepared cheese, saucissons (sausages) & bread. One thing about wine tasting, the appetizers you choose greatly affect your palate then how the wine will react to it in your taste. My buying olives & saucissons au poivre (peppered sausages) was not a good idea. Bourgogne sign, preparing the appetizers, view outside one of the wine merchant's cave - Bertillon, Côte d'Or.

Like every home is different, so are the caves. These wine merchants do not produce as much bottles from their 5 to 8 hectares of vineyard making their bottles quite unique & hard to find. Wines are as complicated as women. The soil, the sun, the weather, things we cannot really control, considerably affect the grapes. With global warming, this year the grape vines have started early to blossom, making harvest as early as July-August (September normally), which will surely affect the quality of the wine. At Bouillien-Guilloux, Mercurey - a stack of aging wine bottles,
an 84 year old grape vine, a cave of wine barrels.

Like cheese, wines are named by region like Bourgogne as an appelation or label & the grape variety may be mentioned like Bourgogne Aligoté. Wines can also be named by the village or communal appelations such as the world renowned Chateau de Pommard. Of course we took the opportunity to visit its caves but this time, we didn't buy their luxuriously priced wonderful bottles. Everytime you eat French cheese & drink French wine, you also learn France
geography. Entering the village of Pommard, Chateau de Pommard entrance & a part of its 20 hectare vineyard.

Don't be fooled by the wine bottles up there, they are very good aged wines. It is because fermenting & preserving wine requires a cave with a 13° temperature & 80% humidity. The constant change of temperature affects wine quality & so is movement. The wines we bought from the local wine merchants can evolve in 10 years but one advice we kept in mind is not to keep wines too long,
say by drinking one bottle a year. We have to take the pleasure of drinking good wine because preserved for so many years, how would we know if it's good or not? Pleasure is taking risks. Years old bottles & wine barrels in Bertillon's amazing cave, stack of wine bottles at Chateau de Pommard cave.

With a preference only for white & rosé, red wines make my lips & tongue numb. But our first degustation of the weekend chez Barberet completely changed my opinion on red wines. At first it was difficult to distinguish one wine from another when wine tasting is one bottle after another & if you're tasting 12 different kinds in one sitting. Tasting wine is likewise a thing to learn especially for this debutant - smelling makes a difference, the first taste is always violent & warming your glass with your hands helps bring out the true flavor. We had a super time chez Barberet not only because he makes excellent wine but this wine maker is a 61 year old tending (trimming & culturing) his own 5 hectare-vineyard alone - each & every vine by hand (of course he hires grape pickers in harvest time) - his face & nape have been sun kissed a million times. A two generation vineyard, he might retire without the next generation to continue the patrimony. After tasting more than 20 bottles over the weekend, and although still having a hard time to differentiate one wine from another, Barbaret's
red wine is now a favorite. Red wine of Barberet (wine etiquette/label glued by french fry with milk) - 1er Cru is a class of wine where it was grown (richness of soil) & the 1er cru & grand cru is few in number & in small quantities that is why they are special, Monsieur Jacques Barberet himself - telling me he's not photogenic after taking this photo, a 1997 Aloxe-Corton Blanc from his own personal stock he shared with us.

After 5 places of degustation in one the best wine growers in the world made me wonder why the hell it took me so long to take a little more interest in this wonderful culture of wines. But even if I try to, I wouldn't know where to start. "What is the best wine in France?" I always ask. "The best wine is the one you like the best," was the reply I got. Foie gras poelé with Balsamique sauce chez Brasserie Mercurey - so yummy plate of our friend.

Merci mon mari de ne pas arrêter me faire découvrir des bonnes choses de France.

And finally it came in the mail - the Wine Tasters.
Merci Tof pour les photos super sympas!


From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.


  1. Wine tasting, ayan, type ko yan!!! No manual labor involved :) Ay, sabi pala ni Pierre sana daw hindi malamok sa Bourgogne when you go picking grapes; dito kasi in the Languedoc, grape-harvest time is monster-moustique time. (Tangna, as if writing in taglish wasn't bad enough, tagfrenchlish na itesh!)

  2. I'm sure at the end of degustation lasheng na lasheng ka na Makis :)! Those are impressing pictures and I would like also like to witness this famous wine tasting and learn how to differentiate good wine! Kasi sa akin pare-pareho lang din lasa, but I know how to tell if it tastes like vinegar naman hahaha !

    Thanks fro bringing me to Bourgogne Makis...bises !

  3. wow, what a nice hotel room! i let julien take a look at your photos and at the end where you wrote your thank you note to your hubby, he said sadly that he's sorry that there's nothing great to discover in qatar. Pwet!


  4. errr, teka? asan ang piktyur namin ni louna dyan???? hehe.

    glad to know you enjoyed the visit. you remind me, we have yet to buy louna's gift.

    september will be fête de la vigne here in côte d'or and the main event is held here in Dijon. ill organize a journée dégustation if you want. there will be international groups coming this year so that must be fun. you might want to visit, just let me know... and that's for all of you ladies, kasali ka na kala hehe.

    and haze, ill show you a degustation sans devenir lasheng after hehe.. (the crashoir is there for that!)

  5. Hello,
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  6. mak, i took a tgv Nice to Marseille saturday (thats today) and I passed by vineyards along the areas of St Raphael Valescure and Toulon, wow, they are fields and fields of grapesvines for wines!

    maganda you put up this topic, this is one of the things Anjo and Margie want to see too!
    O siya, text or miss call me, I will call you back asap! muah!

    hope to see all and haze too.
    Kahit kape kape lang sa airport kaya ng marignan or sa port ng marseille!

    a bientot!

  7. Ana, basta week end, count us in Sa degustation!

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  9. Tagfrenchlish, grabe Apol! OO nga, I changed my mind na nga of doing grape picking but if there's one for tourists, like grape picking only for an hour or so, game ako :)

    Yes, Haze, kahit mumunting walang alam tayo sa wine aba, we know naman when the wine is not good diba? Pero wala ata sa taste buds natin talaga ang wine so it'll take a long time to know the wine's different tastes!

    Julien is really sooo sweet, Kala! I'm sure there is something nice to discover in Qatar - despite its facade, there is always one thing good about every place :)

    Really sounds fun, Ana! I'll tell frenchfry & friends if they are interested kasi the region's landscape will be different na rin. I couldn't spit out the wines on our degustation!!!

    Thanks for the invitation, Jerome :)

    Naku, sayang talaga Francesca, we weren't able to meet up. Ana's invitation might be a good idea - a wine degustation EB!

    té ma mà mariaThanks for the visit!

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  11. Looks like a really fun time. I'd love to go on one myself. The hotel really looks nice. I did not like wine before until I started to enjoy its taste and the buzz ofcoourse it gives me. I liked rose wines or blushes over white. But now I enjoy red wine as well esp. Shiraz.

    So have you opened any of the bottles yoou got yet?

    which do you recommend

  12. I don't know much about wine, Leah although living in one of the best wine makers in the world make you somehow get into it without effort.

    And yes, we opened one already! Although I really cannot recommend, I'd say if you don't really know which red to take, go for the reds of Burgandy (Bourgogne).