Buying wine in the Burgundy Region
Where is the best place to purchase wine while visiting the Burgundy Region?
We see small wine shops, the Caves and you also have a great selection in some of the larger grocery stores. While here we have bought wine from one of the local merchants in town and then we purchased one from the grocer. Both were very good. We did pay less for the grocery store wine. Different vineyard but good.
Some more details required to properly frame your search.
1) What kind of price range / quality are you looking for?
~10 Euro btl / ~ 50 / Over 100 ?
Everyday wine / High End / Esoteric ?
2) What volumes are you looking for :
Single bottles / Full cases?
3) Can you provide some examples of what you bought and considered very good?
4) How long will you stay in Burgundy?
We found a good merchant here in Dijon. We wanted to purchase some Cassis and Marc de Bourgogne. We didn't really know much about them and he did a great job of explaing. He was the only merchant we found here that spoke English. We went into four other shops before we found him. He also told us to buy some Epoisses Cheese to have with our wine. We're now hooked.
Bacchus. 16 rue Bonnelier. Owner Nicolas Barbier
In Beaune, near the Hospices de Beaune, there is a place called
Marche aux Vins. You pay a fee at the entrance. Then they take you through a cellar
where will take you around a tour where you will taste a wide range
of burgundy wines from different areas. You can buy any of the wines you
like. I thought their selection was quite good and bought several bottles
during my last trip 2 years ago.
Well, I've visited the area many times (we live in Italy) and used to buy wines from the domaines. Nothing wrong with that and it can be enjoyable. There are 2 problems,however. 1) you pay their full price 2) you end up having to buy more than you would as they sell in cartons.
We found a good alternative in some large supermarkets especially when they have La Foire aux Vins ( September). I would particularly recommend Cora ( there 's one outside Beaune if I remember).
One time we were renting a room from a nearby domaine and of course visited their cellar/shop but the prices for their wines were lower at Cora!
The saleswoman appeared very surprised.
We ended up loading up more than 2K euros of wines and the supermarket wine specialist explained to us that the owner really cares about wine and drives hard bargains. They even buy some of the Hospice de Beaune parcels.
We've bought lots of single bottles from various domaines. As well, we buy, especially for drinking while there, in the small shops. Don't remember the names, but Beaune has several good ones.
When we stayed at the Chateau du Fey in Joigny, we bought a lot of everyday wine at the supermarche. perfectly lovely Chablis and Irancy for prices no American would believe!
THE shop to visit is in Nuits St Georges: Le Cavon de Bacchus
It doesn't get any better than that. Otherwise there is at least one wine store in almost every major wine making village of Burgundy and more in the cities. Shops in Beaune usually sell at a premium, it's not a cheap town and some of them like Perret sell mostly boring negociants wines, zzzzzzzzzzzz. If I had to single out one store out it would be Le Tast Fromages, 7 Place Carnot, 03 80 24 73 51. As its name implies they sell cheese (hmmm) and fine gourmet foods and at the back a neat selection of wines: they distribute Gagnard and Leflaive for instance. I bought a few Domaine de La Vougeraie there at a very good price and you may find their Clos Blanc de Vougeot GC or Savigny Les Marconnets...if you are lucky.
Chalon sur Saône:
Terroirs et Millésimes, 36, Rue Strasbourg, 03 85 48 01 48
Cellier Saint Vincent, 12, Place St Vincent, 03 85 48 78 25 (I bought a 1997 Charles Joguet there for a mere pittance in 06
)Buying from the producer is a good option, it gives you a chance to speak with the person who crafted the wine and I am sure you will learn something new like I do each time. As a rule of thumb, it's best to call ahead and tell them how many, when and who.
In Gevrey: Renè Bouvier, Humbert Frères, Rosignol-Trapet
In Vosne: Robert Arnoux, Bruno Clavelier, Sylvain Cathiard
In Morey: Arlaud Père et Fils, Lignier-Michelot, Domaine des Lambrays
In Vougeot: Bertagna, Leymarie-Ceci
In Meursault: Henri Germain (ah Henri Germain, the essence of Burgundy), François Jobard, Michel Bouzereau. Say hi to my mam, she is in the retirement home there :-)
In Chassagne: Marc Morey, Morey-Coffinet, Jean-Marc Pillot
This is a small list of viticulteurs who will let you in if you call ahead, I have visited some like Lambrays, Germain etc or I know for a fact that they will welcome the occasional wine aficionado. Some of them like Bertagna or Arnoux have a shop. Remember, this is not a free degustation of cheese cut in small cubes with toothpicks like at Fairway or Dean and Deluca. These are expensive products and the wine makers expect you to buy one or two bottles if you visit.
Foire aux vins is a yearly promotional wine event in september in supermarkets. Wines selection is different from location to location even in the same supermarket brand. There are some good deals to be had like Lignier-Michelot Morey villages 2002 for 22 euros two years ago.