Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Dordogne or Burgundy for a wine aficionado

Dordogne or Burgundy for a wine aficionado

Apr 21st, 2007, 04:59 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 119
Dordogne or Burgundy for a wine aficionado

I am flying into Paris and will stay there one day before heading south. I hear the Dordogne is so wonderful but I am afraid of driving through steep areas and don't know if it's out of the way.

I prefer visiting vineyards. Does the Dordogne afford both? Would Dordogne be a good idea for a two day stopover en route to Nice?
julzieluv is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 05:04 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,931
The Dordogne is NOT a major wine region, though like everywhere in France it has its share of appelations - Bergerac, Monbazzilac, Pécharmant, and lots of others. But if you're a real oenophile, and visiting vineyards is your goal, it's not your destination of choice.

It's also not "steep." It's hilly, but unless you happened on some of the dirt lanes high above La Rocque-Gageac or Beynac, you'd never call it "steep" in terms of driving. Sure, it'll wear your arms out all day driving on curvy lanes, but so will plenty of other places in France.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 21st, 2007, 05:07 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 119
That was helpful. Is Burgundy just as beautiful? I just read the other post about Route des Cre from Paris to Nice. I wonder if there is no choice but to cross that on the way to Nice?
julzieluv is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 05:10 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,931
No, IMO, Burgundy is not as beautiful, but they are completely different, so the eye is in the beholder.

Do you mean the Route des Crêtes? There are myriad ways to get from Paris to Nice without traversing the Route des Crêtes. Do you have a map of France?

I'd just take the TGV to Nice and forget driving. Use the two days extra in the south to visit the wonderful Provence wineries.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 05:39 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Forget the Dordogne, because it is not on your way to Nice and it has no vineyards.

Burgundy is right on the way. Expect a hilly landscape with vineyards on the slopes and forests behind. Picturesque villages, the ancient castle of Clos Vougeot and the beaufiful city of Beaune.

Good restaurants, lots of opportunities for wine tastings and good hotels.

BTW, wines tastings are often disappointing because you taste the new wines which are somewhat tasteless. The great Burgundy wines need at least 15 years to mature (I currently drink Chambertins of 1983 and 1984 from my cellar). But you can drink the mature wines at restaurants.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 06:19 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,087
Wine tasting at chateaus are "a disappointment"? New wines are tasteless?
These are gross mis-statements.

While it may be very difficult to force the chateaus to pop open their Grand Cru wines, the ones that you posted to be currently drinking, i.e. your Chambertins, the Musignys, the Bonnes Mares, etc. for a visitng taster (oh, btw, I have had opportunities to do this as my merchant have made arrangements for some of my private tastings), it is still exciting to be able to visit chateaus and taste some of their village or premiere cru bottlings. It's a fun and educational way to get a preview of how their wines may evolve down the road. ... and they are NOT tasteless.

Also, I agree with most about wines in Dordogne. Other than classical or traditional made Cahors, which I believe to be still a part of the region, everything else are nowhere near comparable to Burgundy.
bill_boy is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 07:14 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 818
We've just come back from Rhone valley (Lyon down to Nice) visiting vineyards. Hermitage, Cote Rotie, Condrieu etc (just posted trip report) and my advice is, wherever you go, e- mail or call the wineries and make an appointment. We tasted some excellent wines (admittedly not 30 years old!) talked with the owners and were shown round. The small wineries which often don't even have wine on sale will not go to this trouble unless they know you are coming in advance.
carrom is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 07:24 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,938
I agree with St Cirq - take the TGV to Aix or Nice & enjoy 2 more days in the the south of France. That's a long & difficult drive to the Nice from Paris & most of it is not scenic.

We spent 4 weeks in Burgundy & Beaujolais last year & 4 weeks in the Dordogne in '05. The Dordogne has a lot more to offer than Burgundy, IMO.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 07:50 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,087
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
The Dordogne has a lot more to offer than Burgundy, IMO.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Not true for wine afficionado, I'm afraid.
bill_boy is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:07 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,827
The Dordogne has more castles (it is said that it has one for every day of the year), it has its caves and the Dordogne Valley is more picturesque than the valleys I have seen in Burgundy.

But Burgundy has more important cultural centers (Dijon, for one), it has its wines, more important religious sites (Abbeye de Fontenay, Vézelay), probably as many scenic villages (I recommend the villages along the Serein), and more important forests (the Morvan). Anyone going from Paris to Nice can have a very enjoyable time going through Burgundy.
Michael is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:31 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,938
Actually, I think there are more castles you can visit in Burgundy than in the Dordogne. We visited about 20 last year, & there were even some that we wanted to visit but couldn't for various reasons. I think we've only visited about 10 (maybe less) in the Dordogne & surrounding area.

In case the OP has never visited a winery in France, I don't think they are as accommodating or as tourist friendly as those in the US. In the Napa/Sonoma area there are probably 50 you can drive up to, taste wine, and often go on a tour. Wineries in France close for lunch, often close on weekends, and tours are very rare unless you arrange one in advance. Tastings are often not done at the winery, but at co-ops, shops in town, and wine 'centers" (Marche aux Vin in Beaune). We purchased lots of wine in Burgundy & Beaujolais. Often it's done at the proprietor's home - and it's a little intimidating to ring the bell, wait for the owner to appear, tell him/her you want to taste, have them walk you to the tasting room/cellar, uncork a wine, & let you taste. That's quite different from what I've experienced at the Napa/Sonoma wineries (I live close by) where they have huge tasting rooms staffed from 10 to 5 every day, and tours leaving regularily.

Bill_boy - you're correct - I forgot to note that the OP was mainly interested in the wine experience.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:20 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
>tasteless<

Excuse me for using the wrong word - I am not a native English speaker and when I hastily wrote the post did not find the right expression.

What I mean is: The great wines from Burgundy (premier crus and grand crus) need approx. 15 years to develope their full aromas. Especially the fruit notes and mineral aromas develop not earlier. I wrote that I drink the Chambertins (that's a grand gru) from 1983 and 1984 - they are just at the climax.

If you taste a young, immature grand vin then a paradox will occur: Wines of lower quality taste often better than wines of higher quality because the mature earlier.

Second, there are hardly any "chateaux" in Burgundy. You find huge chateaux in Bordeauy, but in Burgundy, most winemakers are very small businesses. And very often these small winemakers have just the one or two most recent vintages for tastings, because they have already sold out the older (and more developed) wines.

In every village you will find advertising of winemakers who offer older wines. These offers are doubtful, because the good winemakers will sell their products quickly. If a winemaker still offers wines which are 10 or 15 years old, then this is a sign for questionable quality.

About Marche aux Vines in Beaune: This is a wonderful experience to have a self-guided wine tasting in a kind of "Terence-Fisher-old-Dracula-film-ambiance". And for a nominal fee, you get reasonably drunk with quite good stuff.

I did it twice together with my family, and we had a lot of fun. However, the wines are pretty mediocre and overpriced there.

Therefore, I think the best option to enjoy good, old wines is to drink them in restaurants - together with the fabulous food for which Burgundy is so famous.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 11:45 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,087
I, too, like my Burgundy with some age in them.

However, the only way that Iíd decide to spend a small fortune (at least, thatís what it feels like to me with the stratospheric pricing of good Burgundies) on a few cases of current vintage Grand Cru or Premier Cru that I plan to cellar, is if Iím able to get a flavor and sense of the producersí vintage, style and then be able to asses the aging potential of his/her wines.

How do I do that? I sample his/her wines and even if they offer only the Villages level wines, it gives me a good directional assessment of his/her more expensive Crus. Besides, there are some Burgundies that are good to consume when young and especially before they close down.
bill_boy is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 11:53 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 119
What I got from all of your wonderful replies is Burgundy is a better choice but to be sure and go through Dijon and the larger town. That Burgundy is not too scenic and any tastings would be best set up by appt.
julzieluv is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 11:56 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,087
traveler1959,

Just to add...

Sometimes, and just to get away from all that wine geekiness, it is simply fun to walk into a tasting room or a cave in a small Domaine (OK, I didn't use "chateau" as per your note above) nestled in a vineyard near a picturesque village in Burgundy and taste away wines with the proprietors and without being overly cerebral about it.
bill_boy is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
LisaGreene
Europe
13
May 7th, 2011 10:56 PM
skatterfly
Europe
16
Jan 31st, 2008 05:19 AM
Amanda
Europe
2
May 1st, 2003 06:33 AM
Joe
Europe
15
Jun 29th, 2002 12:32 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:07 AM.