Wine tasting in Beaune

By Bill Kofoed
This item appears on page 34 of the December 2012 issue.

My wife, JoAnn, and I made our fifth visit to Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, France, March 1-4, 2012. Beaune was a delight.

We stayed, as usual, at the 3-star Hôtel de la Cloche (40-42 rue Faubourg Madeleine, 21200 Beaune; phone +33 [0] 3 80 24 66 33) because it has excellent parking, is centrally located and boasts a very attentive staff.

Since our last visit, it had been substantially upgraded; the price was higher, but it was still worthwhile. Our room cost €91 ($117) a night.

JoAnn Kofoed beside an antique wine press in Beaune. Photo: Bill Kofoed

Beaune is really a town for walking, which, after stopping at multiple wineries, is good. Our favorite winery is Patriarche Pere et Fils, which was a convent before the French Revolution in 1789 and now has three million bottles of wine in its caves.

We sampled 12 wines, both red and white, and some Grand Crus for €30 (near $39), including a sommelier’s tasting cup. These included Mersault, Cassagne Montrachet, Gevrey Chambertin and more.

We found excellent value at Caves du Couvert des Cordeliers (, where, for only €8 ($10) per person, we tasted six wines, including a Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru that retailed for about $120 a bottle — and we got to take home our two tasting glasses.

For those who enjoy Meursault, be sure to visit Château Meursault, about six miles south of Beaune. There are about 800,000 bottles in their caves, and some of them date back to the 14th century.

Tasting cost €30 for two (you keep two glasses) and provided liberal amounts of high-end wines, including some Grand Crus. The château, itself, is magnificent, with beautiful paintings and sculptures.

For dining in Beaune, JoAnn and I highly recommend Hôtel Central (2 rue Victor Millot, 21200 Beaune; phone [0] 3 80 24 77 24), where we dined twice. The restaurant is separated into two dining areas, each of which accommodates about 25 guests.

While prix fixe lunches and dinners were available, we opted to dine à la carte. Each lunch cost about $80 for the two of us, including a large bottle of Evian water. The escargot, soups and frogs’ legs were outstanding.

Ft. Pierce, FL