Dijon is also a place to go because of its proximity to the Grand Cru villages of Burgundy, Pommard and Puligny Montrachet for example. This is ground zero for fine wines, not that the wines are any finer, but the French were the first to raise the bar with definitions of quality related to the best intersection of grape, land, and vintner. The Burgundians roll their eyes at Bordeaux, and the super Tuscan’s, even though they are both classified and thus one can sort the quality of a wine in a predictable manner. We rarely ventured to mention our favorite wine region in California, Paso Robles which is renowned for Bordeaux style wines and at least one fine label is that of a transplanted French wine maker from Bordeaux, L’Aventure.

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

Dijon

On Saturday, March 23rd we ventured out of Dijon, passed through Beaune and Pommard and then four miles further climbing to a little village at the top of a hill called Meloisey in search of a newer chateau started by two women. Our idea was to find smaller houses who were not well known and hoped to find some reasonably priced treasures. Unfortunately, due to the season they were not open and there was no sign of either of the two vintners that were reported to be in this village.

However, exploring this village proved to be a reward not expected. It had the remote charm of antiquity about it and a church that was austere and interestingly as one entered there were several sets of stairs and landings to arrive at the nave because it was built into the side of a hill. The church was empty and frigid even though the air and sun were warm with the early spring blossoming in the village square in front of it. There were beautiful vistas as we looked out onto the vineyards in the valley below, but no wine so on to Pommard.

We arrived in Pommard around 1 and luck smiled on us again; we happened on the only open tasting room, Armand Heitz. We entered and asked for a tasting and the host said he had a tasting scheduled shortly but it would be conducted in French and there was to be no English language tasting on this day. Of course, Heidi stepped forward and assured him in her skillful French that language was no impediment for us (I remained silent having no facility in this language).

The tasting was conducted in a minimally but stylishly renovated medieval room with two other French couples, one young and one our age who arrived on bicycles as a part of a planned countryside tour. We were clearly regarded as outsiders, but as the tasting progressed Heidi worked her charm and by the end we developed a camaraderie.

The wines were wonderful and the vintner, Armand Heitz produced many of the wines without sulfites. Armand is a young man with an integrated business, wine, cheese, meat, and a restaurant. He appears a bit eccentric and maybe the photo below will provide a visual ratification of this opinion. Were purchased half cases of Chassagne Montrachet, a young unoaked red, and one bottle of fine barrel aged Pommard, and 4 crémant. We now had a well-stocked trunk wine cellar to tide us through Germany and Denmark and until our return to France on April 23rd.