THE SOMM DIARIES | Day 3 | Keize heads to Beaune

THE SOMM DIARIES | Day 3 | Keize heads to Beaune

By Keize Mumba, Head Sommelier at Grub & Vine and Culture Wine Bar

Read about Day 1 here and Day 2 here of Keize’s trip to Burgundy. 

Thursday 22 June 2023 was our last day in Beaujolais – and the beginning of our absolutely amazing time in Beaune, Burgundy! 

Côte d’Or is at the heart of Burgundy and comprises Côte de Beaune, an area between Santenay and just south of Nuits-Saint-Georges with Beaune as its central town; and Côte de Nuits which runs south from Dijon to Nuits-Saint-Georges.

At around 10am, we packed our bags and headed to Dijon along the A6 highway, which cuts through the heartland of France. On this highway, there are no breathtaking sites of vineyards – just hills on both sides with wheat and cornfields and the river Saône transversing the landscape.

After driving for about an hour, we took an off ramp and turned right into the Côte Chalonnaise. As we drove through Givry the soil turned from dark clay into red clay, and then vineyards started to appear. Suddenly the weather changed, clouds covered the sky, and it started to drizzle. As we approached Mercurey and pulled up at Château de Chamirey the drizzle turned into a sudden downpour, like a bucket of water being poured down on us as if to announce our arrival at this centuries old Château. 


Châteaux are not common in Burgundy as most producers own ‘domaines’. Château de Chamirey  is one of a kind. What’s also unique about Château de Chamirey is that it is the only one we visited that has a well-organised Tasting Room, such as those common on nearly every wine farm in South Africa. In Burgundy, most producers do not permit public tastings on-site; hence there is no need for a formal Tasting Room. 

As we entered the tasting room a brochure lay on a glass table with a caption that read ‘Domaines Devillard’. I picked up the brochure and opened it. Inside was the list of the wines we were going to taste: Le Renard Bourgogne Chardonnay 2022, Domaine de la Garonne Mâcon-Bussières 2021, Château de Chamirey Mercurey 2021, Château de Chamirey Mercurey En Pierrelet 2021, Château de Chamirey Mercurey 2021, Château de Chamirey Mercurey 1er Cru Clos du Roe 2021, Domaine des Perdrix Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2021, Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Perdrix 2021 and Domaine des Perdrix Echezeaux Grand Cru 2021.

The Devillard family who own Château de Chamirey also own Domaine des Perdrix in Côte de Nuits, Domaine de la Ferté in Givry and Domaine de la Garenne in Mâconnais. Amaury Devillard, who was later joined by his sister Aurore, took us through the tasting.

All the wines were sensational. I particularly enjoyed the Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Perdrix 2021. It displayed succulent cherry and strawberry fruit with nuances of sweet spice and dried pink rose petals. With beautiful elegance and a long finish, this is Pinot Noir at its absolute best! Domaine des Perdrix Echezeaux Grand Cru 2021 was also exceptional, and with a few more years in the bottle, it will express its incredible potential.

The whites were superb. Even though I wasn’t tasting the wines to compare them with the Chardonnay from South Africa (which I am used to drinking), I found that the top South African Chardonnays were very similar in style to the village Burgundian wines such as Le Renard Bourgogne Chardonnay 2022, which displayed the ripe stone fruit character common in South African Chardonnay.

The other remarkable thing about this domaine is that it has been producing wine non-stop from 1857 until 2022 (with the exception of 1956 because of hail and frost which damaged the vintage). 

After the Tasting Amaury treated us to a delightful lunch, where more Grand Cru wines were opened. After lunch, we continued our journey to Beaune…