Burgundy winemaker designs new path

A trip to France is not complete without a food and wine experience. I don’t just mean a lunch or dinner at a village or Parisian cafe, bistro or brasserie, enjoying local cuisine and wine. While that is a large part of the equation, I wanted to meet and learn more about the winemakers and their passion to create the bottles of juice the world has on their tables.

So in June I traveled to Burgundy, France, for a week and spent three days wine tasting, talking with vignerons and wine merchants. I decided to hire Burgundy Discovery’s Robert and Joy Pygott to reacquaint me with the area. My visit five years ago gave me a wonderful overview to the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, but I wanted the perspective of someone who lived in the region to reeducate me with the Burgundian appellations and regions.

After studying adult handicap education, Parisian-born Ulrich Dujardin became a respected Burgundy winemaker through personal courage, fortitude and vision. His new wine label broke new ground into the often closed community.

During my 2007 visit to Burgundy, my wife and I met Ulrich Dujardin at Domain Bouzerand-Dujardin. This winemaker exuded excitement and passion for his craft and I was moved by his story. He was not a local landowner nor did his family’s history include winemaking. But Ulrich’s enthusiasm and vision for the craft sparked a cord within me. I wanted to meet Ulrich again and learn more about the outsider who became a winemaker in the tiny village of Monthelie, 5 km or 3.5 miles from Beaune.

This year’s visit included an hour presentation of Domain Dujardin’s winemaking process from beginning to end, including Ulrich’s personal attention to an all hand-harvest and natural wine process. But as he spoke about his passion for winemaking, I heard something I did not catch when I spent an hour with him in 2007. Ulrich’s passionate presentation invigorated me because he obviously cared about the process. But I almost missed his side comments on how he hires disabled or handicapped people to help him in the vineyards. And when I checked on his family heritage, it did not include winemaking.

How did an outsider become a winemaker in a region which favors tradition and heritage over the new and upstart?

My first Burgundian TalesoftheCork will post tomorrow. I want to introduce Domain Dujardin and its owner: Ulrich Dujardin. Please return to read “Outsider impacts Burgundy winemaking tradition, Part I.”

Salut!

Côte de Beaune introduction

Burgundy is a triangular region in central France. The area includes Chablis, about three hours south of Paris, to Dijon in the North and Macon to the South. The Côte de Beaune appellation incorporates the southern villages of Cheilly Les Maranges and Santenay to northern village of Pernano Vergelesses. Beaune is the largest village. A sub appellation includes the villages of the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune. These villages and vineyards are on the plateau above the Côte de Beaune.

Almost every Saturday morning, starting at 7:30, Beaune’s old city center comes alive with a farmer’s market. Be sure to grab a coffee creme and croissant at one of the patisseries or cafes.