Richard Bunton has developed an avid interest in wine and food over the years. This interest has led him into establishing Rockburn Wines, Central Otago, which in turn has led to an even keener interest in the history of wine and, in particular, Burgundy wines.
Richard is a Cardiothoracic surgeon by day and is one of the founding directors of Rockburn wines – a leading producer of Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand.
Richard and his wife Lynley have visited the Côte-D’Or a number of times and more recently, for the past 8 years, have taken tours of the region.
Our tour of the Côte-D’Or, which starts and ends in Beaune, can be combined with visits to other European areas or family. Everything on the itinerary is covered in the one-off cost of the tour; there is no need for other costs to be incurred apart from personal shopping and optional events.
Included in the cost:
Beaune, a well-preserved medieval town and the wine capital of Burgundy, is in the middle of the Côte-D’Or. Compact and with the wall and moat intact, Beaune oozes history and infective charm, while retaining its position as one of the premier world wine centres.
Burgundy, itself the gastronomic capital of France, boasts more Michelin starred restaurants than anywhere else in France, making dining out a veritable gustatory experience.
This is hardly surprising considering Burgundy also produces cheese, mustard, cassis and Crémant. The latter is a bubbly wine made in the traditional method but unable to be called Champagne for obvious reasons.
“For those with more than a passing interest in food and wine, the Côte-D’Or is an area unsurpassed for everything relating to the production of wine and the enjoyment of fine fare”, says Richard.
Having been to Burgundy a number of times, Richard has established good, local contacts. Making the most of your visit to the Côte-D’Or means having as a guide, someone like Richard, with good local knowledge who can maximise the use of your time and introduce you to the real, unspoilt Burgundy.
The Côte-D’Or in Burgundy, debatably the world’s premier wine region, is home to the grape that is of great importance to the Central Otago wine industry, the Pinot Noir grape.
Pinot Noir is the only red grape variety grown in the Côte-D’Or, while Chardonnay is the major white variétal.
Some people find Burgundy somewhat intimidating from a wine point of view, believing everyone there drinks Grand and Premier Cru all the time.
“This is not the case”, emphasises Richard. “The best wines are expensive, but one of the joys of Burgundy is finding affordable, good quality wine that can be sourced back in New Zealand”.
What can be confusing however, is the wine classification and labelling and also the wine hierarchy amongst the various villages and producers. Some wines are estate bottled, some by négociants and so on. This tour seeks to dispel some of this confusion.
Richard’s tour of Burgundy is not a guided tour in the true sense, but rather it’s a gathering of like-minded people, where individual as well group needs can be catered for. While well planned, flexibility is paramount on the tour, whether it is for weather or the desires of those on the tour itself.
The tour is aimed at those with more than a passing interest in food and wine, but not at an expert level. However, ‘expert’ level activities can be arranged for those that wish it. The aim is for participants to learn about Burgundy and at the same time have a remarkable experience. Oenologically and/or gastronomically this is not a tour for the faint hearted.