The beautiful medival city, Beaune, hosts the world's largest wine auction in the world– The Trois Glorieuses– the third weekend of November every year. The town comes alive with festivities: marching bands, wine tasting, escargot sampling, arts and crafts, mustard sellars, street food, bottle opening competitions, beauty competitions, and so on.
Burgundy is of course known for it's amazing wine: Chablis, Sancerre, & Bourgogne (white and red). If you are really in the know then you might be able to bid on your own barrel at the Christie's auction located in the center of Beaune. All proceeds go to charity and you can have your barrel bottled with your name on it if you win. Unfortunately we couldn't get past security so I guess we'll have to wait until next year...
No trip is complete without a wine tour/tasting at Patriarche Pere Et Fils who uncorks older vintages for the festival. This cave (5 minutes from the center of town) is over 5km of corridors and houses over four million bottles. The expert sommeiliers speak English and have no problem whisking you away to private tasting rooms if you want to try vintages not on the menu and are willing to buy something. The more you buy, the better deals you get too so don't be afraid to haggle a bit. After much debate, here's our selection this year:
2002 Corton Grand Cru Renardes (Pinot Noir),
1995 Pommard Premier Cru Epenots (Pinot Noir),
1992 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru (Pinot Noir),
2002 Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru "Champs Gain" (Chardonnay),
1986 magnum of Chambolle Musigny (Pinot Noir) for Thankgiving
There are many places to stay, the most expensive being Hotel Cep which is in the center of town and abolutely gorgeous with period furniture and top notch service. However, there are some beautiful places right on the perimeter of Beaune that offer country hospitality in charming settings with modern facilities at half the price. Hotel le Clos, was perfect and not too expensive. Price ranges from 60–200 euros. The hotel is an old Chateaux that was beautifully restored. Friendly service and clean accomodations too.
Leaving was difficult, I was just getting used to beef bourgongne and coq-au-vin on a daily basis, not to mention my vin chaud (hot mulled wine) in the 1C weather. Oh well, we've got reservations for next year too! I'm working on my wine conections in the meantime so I can get my own wine labeled for Christmas presents!