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11.13.2010

Off to Burgundy to Drink Some Wine

VillagesChalonnais03.jpgI'm watching the sun rise over the tarmac at the San Francisco airport, running on very little sleep, and leaning on a roll-aboard suitcase that only barely zipped close thanks to a few bulky sweaters. On most saturday mornings, I'd hope to be sleeping at this time, but instead I'm on my way to spend ten days in the heart of Burgundy, France, attending the 150th anniversary of the Hospices de Beaune wine auction.

The Hospices de Beaune auction has been the celebratory end to the harvest in Burgundy ever since someone got the idea in 1860 to hold an auction of wine to benefit the local hospital in the little town of Beaune.

I'm being hosted by the BIVB, also known as the Burgundy Wine Board, who are footing the bill for the trip.

My trip begins in the Maconnais region of southern Burgundy, where I'll spend some time exploring the villages of Pouilly and Fuisse and a few other little nooks and crannies of the area. Then I'm headed up to Beaune, which will be my base of operations for exploring the Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune wine areas, as well as the festivities of the auction itself.

Even with the stress of a long, unusually frenetic week hanging over me along with the groggy fog of fatigue, I'm positively giddy. This is my first trip to Burgundy, and ever since I first heard about it many years ago, I've dreamed of attending the Hospices de Beaune festivities.

So here I am, off to fulfill that dream and taste a lot of Burgundy in the process. I've got maps of the Cote d'Or loaded onto my iPad, sturdy boots, a fully charged camera battery, and deep regrets at not learning more French in high school.

I look forward to sharing my adventures with you, WiFi signals permitting. And if you know anyone with an extra ticket to dinner at Clos Vougeout or the La Paulee de Meursault, let me know, as I'm still looking for one!

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.