Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cote D’Or, the golden mountains of Burgundy (June 21st, 2011)

Cote D’Or includes the Beaune regions of Burgundy which is reputed to have some of the most coveted wines of France because of the hills. Grand crus, premier Crus, are ratings of some of the most expensive wines of France based on the terroire, or terrain of the vineyard. Usually the Grand Crus are at the top of the mountain, followed by the premier crus, and then other wines that are lower in price and height of the hill. The height usually correlates with the price of the wine because there is better water drainage in the higher slopes, implying better wine quality. However, this is not always true when it comes to the taste of the wine, and its hard to buy a “good” wine based only on height.
Anyhow, today we went to the Beaune region of Burgundy to visit the Hospices of Beaune. In the medieval times, the hospice gave alms to the poor and treated the sick everyday. The hospice sustained itself financially by making and selling wine! Originally, a nobleman, hoping that doing good would guarantee entry into heaven, donated the land for the hospice and vineyards. At this hospice, we walked around examining old medical tools, beds, wine tasting bowls…see pictures below!
We went to the wine museum after the hospice to see the evolution of wine, and the diversity of the wine depending on the region of the world. This was very neat. We also walked around the town of Beaune for the afternoon and were invited to a cheese and wine tasting at Alain Hess's cheese/wine store. He makes his own "mustard cheese" and buys cheese from other cheesemakers and ages them below the store. He sells the cheese when the cheese is "ready" or has aged enough...very similar to wine.

Hospices of Beaune

The hospital beds

Old Medical Tools

The cheese platter for tasting

The mustard cheese

The Aged Citeaux Cheese-Yummy!From the Abbey of Citeaux

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