A Taste of Burgundy and Côtes du Rhône
A wine-and-food tour of Burgundy and the Côte-du-Rhone wine regions, from Hermitage and Côte Rotie via Beaune to Chablis, hosted by Tony Aspler and featuring VIP wine tastings at top estates, including Romanée-Conti, Drouhin, Boisset, Jaboulet, Chapoutier, William Fèvre and others.
11 days, from Wednesday, May 20, to Saturday, May 30, 2009
Tour price: $4,995 from Toronto, based on double occupancy – single room supplement: $650
MEALS INCLUDED: B(reakfast), L(unch), or D(inner)
Day 1 – Wednesday, May 20
Late afternoon departure from Toronto International Airport to Düsseldorf, Germany, with Lufthansa Airlines. Dinner as well as a light breakfast will be served on board.
Day 2 – Thursday, May 21 [In-flight breakfast, D]
Early morning arrival in Düsseldorf, and short connecting flight to Lyon, where a deluxe private coach (equipped with AC, WC, audio/video, etc.) will be waiting to take us to the traditional 4-star Boscolo Grand Hotel (www.boscolohotels.com), superbly situated near the banks of the mighty Rhone River, in the heart of the city . Free time to settle in and get some rest after your overnight flight. In late afternoon, leisurely walking tour of old Lyon, followed by a welcome dinner of classic local fare at the exceptional Brasserie Léon de Lyon.
Day 3 – Friday, May 22 [B, L]
Today we explore the top appellations of the northern Rhone River Valley, home to the world’s most powerful and elegant Syrah-based red wines. We will head to the town of Tain l'Hermitage for a VIP tour and tasting at one of the regions most historic and highly regarded producers, M. Chapoutier (www.chapoutier.com). Following a lunch of regional specialties, we will continue to learn about the fabulous wines produced in the region with a visit and tasting at another storied estate – Paul Jaboulet Ainé (www.jaboulet.com). Return to Lyon and free evening (perhaps a meal in one of Lyon’s famous Bouchons – a few of which are an easy walk from the hotel).
Day 4 – Saturday, May 23 [B]
A full day to explore the many delights and attractions of Lyon. In the morning we’ll visit Les Halles – the extensive market where Lyon’s demanding celebrity chefs and locals alike stock up on every manner of food item imaginable. Afterwards, a local guide will offer a tour of many of Lyon’s most interesting architectural and historical sights. The balance of the day will provide plenty of time to take advantage of the city’s extensive shopping and cultural attractions. Before dinner (an optional dinner will be arranged in one of the city’s top restaurants such as Paul Bocuse’s or Nicolas Le Bec), Tony will conduct an educational tasting of some the wonderful Rhone appellation wines of Guigal (www.guigal.com).
Day 5 – Sunday, May 24 [B, D]
Departure from Lyon after breakfast towards Beaune, capital of the world-famous Côte d’Or, or "golden slope," wine region of Burgundy, and our base for the next four days. En route, we’ll spend much of the day exploring hilly Beaujolais, considered by many to be the prettiest wine region in France, for a visit to famous villages such as Brouilly, Fleurie, and St. Amour. Stop for a wine tasting (of course!) at the estate of P. Ferraud & Fils (www.ferraud.com) before breaking for lunch in one of the regions quaint villages. In the afternoon we’ll stop for a look at the scenic vineyards of Pouilly-Fuissé at the foot of the spectacular Rock of Solutré, where prehistoric hunters chased wild horses. Late afternoon arrival at our home for the next four nights – the charming Hotel Le Clos, a converted 18th-century farm in the lovely countryside just outside the city (www.hotelleclos.com). This
evening we enjoy a casual dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Day 6 – Monday, May 25 [B]
This morning we’ve arranged a guided tour of Beaune’s renowned Hospice, a superb Medieval architectural complex featuring the interior of a Medieval Hospital as well as an art gallery; the Hospice is also the site of the famous annual auction of some of the best wines of Burgundy. The afternoon is free to explore beautiful Beaune of your own or to shop for vintage wine, corkscrews, decanters, and similar paraphernalia in the many local specialty shops. Back at the hotel before dinner, Tony will conduct an informal tasting of some local Pinot Noirs – preparing our palates for the whirlwind experience of the days ahead! No group dinner this evening, but arrangements will be made back in Beaune for those interested.
Day 7 – Tuesday, May 26 [B, L]
Much of our day today will involve an exploration of the exceptional wines produced by the Boisset Family from their extensive vineyard holdings throughout both the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. In the morning, Jean-Charles Boisset has invited us for a tour and tasting at Domaine de La Vougeraie (www.domainedelavougeraie.com) and the nearby vineyards in and around Clos de Vougeot. Following a lunch at the nearby Chateau de Gilly, we will head north to visit the Boisset vineyards in the area of Gevrey Chambertin before additional barrel and bottle tastings of various Premiers and Grand Crus at their property in Nuits St. George. Return to the hotel and free evening.
Day 8 – Wednesday, May 27 [B, D]
I had always hoped one day to write the following in an itinerary but never thought it would happen – by special invitation of Tony’s friend Monsieur Aubert de Villaine, today we will visit the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Vosne-Romanée for a vineyard and cellar tour followed by a tasting of a selection of their wines. DRC’s wines have been described as "the scarcest, most expensive – and frequently the best – wine in the world ... the purest, most aristocratic and most intense example of Pinot Noir you could possibly imagine ... a yardstick with which to judge all other Burgundies." This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is certain to be a highlight of the tour. Time for a reflective lunch in one of the Côte d’Or villages before we head back to the hotel to relax before our eventful evening out. Before our dinner in one of Beaune’s numerous fine restaurants we have been invited to visit the 14th-century cellars
of Maison Joseph Drouhin (www.drouhin.com) for a "discovery tasting" of exceptional wines from their varied Burgundy holdings.
|Epoisses de Bourgogne
The Cistercian monks of the Abbey of Citeaux first produced the remarkable Epoisses, called "king of cheeses" by the well-known Epicurean Brillat-Savarin and enjoyed by Napoleon together with his favourite Burgundian wine, Chambertin. This orange-coloured cheese, made of cows' milk, has a powerful rich flavour with a pungent smell. The rind is regularly washed in the French variety of Grappa, Marc, but Marc de Bourgogne, of course. This process further enhances its mouth-watering complex taste, simultaneously sweet, salty, and creamy…
Day 9 – Thursday, May 28 [B, D]
Departure from Beaune after breakfast. We motor to the ancient capital of Burgundy, Dijon, for a leisurely stroll through the attractive old town and an opportunity to do some shopping, e.g. in the wonderful covered market, in the "Parisian" department store Galeries Lafayette, and/or at the world-famous shop of Maille, founded in 1845, grand spécialiste in "Dijon mustard." Another interesting commodity to purchase in this city is crème de cassis, a liqueur of local black currents (cassis), often mixed with white wine to make the popular aperitif, named "Kir" after Felix Kir, a former Dijon mayor. Lovers of art and history, on the other hand, will want to visit cultural attractions such as the nearby Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy and the Cathedral. Free time for lunch and shopping in Dijon. In the afternoon we continue to the famous Burgundian wine village of Chablis, where we stay in a traditional French country inn, Hostellerie des Clos (www.hostellerie-des-clos.fr).
There will be time for a leisurely walk through the town before dinner in the Michelin-starred restaurant of our hotel.
Day 10 – Friday, May 29 [B, L]
After a late breakfast, we pay a visit to William Fevre, producer of exceptional Chablis wines. Farewell lunch in a fine restaurant en route to Paris. In the afternoon we stop briefly in Fontainebleau to admire the fabulous local chateau, associated with French King Francis I as well as Napoleon, and take a stroll in its garden. Overnight in first-class Hotel Pullman (formerly Sofitel) at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Day 11 – Saturday, May 30 [B]
After an early breakfast, mini-transfer to CDG Airport in time for the 9 am departure of our return flight with Lufthansa, via Duesseldorf. Arrival in Toronto around 3 pm.
Estimated Tour price, based on double occupancy: $4,995 from Toronto.
Included in the price:
- Return airfare
- Accommodation (based on double occupancy) in first-class or "best available" hotels (the single supplement is TBA, but please note that only a limited number of single rooms are available, so book yours early!)
- Sightseeing, visits, and wine tastings as shown in the itinerary
- Transportation by private deluxe coach (with extra seats removed for added leg room)
- Breakfast daily and a total of seven dinners (or full lunches), some (but not all) with wine included
- Porterage of one suitcase per person
- Wine, beer, mineral water and similar beverages with dinners, though some meals will include wine
- All items of a personal nature
- A gratuity for the coach driver, approximately $30
- Airport taxes and security fees, presently approximately $400
- Travel insurance, available as follows:
|Deluxe package insurance:
|Up to age 59:
|Ages 60 to 64:
|Ages 65 to 69:
|Ages 70 to 74:
|Ages 75 to 79:
||Call for rates
PAUWELS TRAVEL BUREAU LTD.
95 Dalhousie Street, Brantford, Ontario N3T 2J1
Ont. Reg. #1034992
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Reservations should be made as early as possible to ensure the departure of your choice. A deposit of $750.00 is required at the time of registration. Your reservation is confirmed upon receipt of your deposit and application form. No reservations will be accepted without a signed application form.
REFUND OF UNUSED ARRANGEMENTS:
Because the rates of Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. are based on group participation, no refund can be made for any tour accommodation or tour service or tour feature not taken. If cancellation occurs while the tour is in progress, no refund can be made for the tour portion not taken. We strongly suggest that, to allow for any unexpected contingencies, you purchase the all-inclusive insurance.
Refund of deposit is made in full if cancellation is received in writing by Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. more than 90 days prior of the departure date of the tour less a $250.00 non-refundable administrative fee per person. For cancellation received in writing 90 days prior or less the following cancellation charges apply:
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