Touring the Burgundy Region of France – Two Great Wines & Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon & Burgundy Wine

Beef Bourguignon & Burgundy Wine

I left the Champagne Region and headed over to Burgundy.  The Burgundy region is in Eastern France and the wines are primarily Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. There are 6 regions within the Burgundy region, so there are many different types of wine to chose from.  This is also the birth place of coq au vin, Dijon mustard and beef bourguignon.

But before I tried the local fare, I would want to visit the Autun Cathedral and take a ride down the Canal de Bourgogne.

And now, time for some dinner and drink!  I knew right away I wanted to try beef bourguignon, but I wasn’t sure about the wine pairing.  I have to come clean, I failed to recognize the complexity of the various wine regions I have encountered thus far – there is so much to learn. Plus, every time I hear the word burgundy, I think of the movie Anchorman – and Ron Burgundy.

cooking beef bourguignonSo, I did what any little sister does, I called my big brother, Ian.  He told me that he would take care of the wine for this leg of the journey, if I took care of the food – easy enough.  My husband, Michael, has a culinary degree, so it was the obvious choice to let him cook our beef bourguignon.

Ian brought over two wines – a Camille Giourd 2009 Bourgogne Grand Vin de Bourgogne and Digioia-Royer 2010 Bourgogne Appellation Bourgogue Contolee Pinot Noir.

The Camille Giourd had a light ruby-red color, with a very light nose of raspberry and the palette tasted of tart cherries.  The Digioia-Royer was similar in color, with a richer nose of plums, blackberries and cherries and a palette of raspberries and tart cherries.

Honestly, I was surprised by the tartness of both of these wines.  To this point, most of the wines I have tasted have been American, primarily California and Washington, so the taste of this authentic French wine was a shock to my palette.

But both wines did pair nicely with the meal.  The beef bourguignon was a savory, rustic dish.  And our side dishes of steamed fingerling potatoes and petite carrots brought out earthy notes.  The tart and earthy flavors of the wine melded nicely with the beef, which does support the argument that the native foods and wines are always the best pairings.

Ian also gave me some good nuggets of information about the Burgundy region.  The Burgundy region is basically a big hill with a highway running through the middle.  The wines that are labeled with Appellation Bourgogne Controlee mean that the grapes are from all over the Burgundy region, and most of these wines are made from the grapes at the top of the hill.

The vineyards at the bottom of the hill are called the village appellations. The wines from the very bottom of the valley are called the Premier crus and the wines from right above are called the Grand crus (the best wines).  There are 32 Grand Crus.  Wow!

Enjoying wine with familyI also learned that the Digioia-Royer is from Chambolle-Musigny.  Originally, Chambolle was the town in France and Musigny was the winery.  Way back when, towns started attaching themselves to the winery to put themselves on the map, and the names stuck.

The wine and the food combination was very tasty and left me wanting more.  So, I have decided for my next stop, I will head back up North to the Alsace region.

In the words of Ron Burgundy – “Stay Class France” – and stay tuned for more French wine and food.

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