Loire and Burgundy Trip - Chinon/Touraine/Beaune

I am traveling to the Loire for 2 days followed by 2 days in Burgundy and looking for recommendations, especially with regards to wineries to visit.

In the Loire, we will be staying in Chambord and could go as far west as Chinon. 

In Burgundy we plan to stay in Beaune and drive a reasonable distance either way from there.

Generally, any good advice to share? Are there any importers/suppliers who are good about setting up appointments? Any must-go restaurants? Any customs or courtesies when visiting French wineries that would be different than America and good to know?

Thanks in advance!

  • Is this your first time visiting France? 

    If so, I would say there isn't the same pressure to buy wine like there is in the New World, and many of the wineries aren't set up for it. I've asked a couple of times out of courtesy and it seemed to cause more stress than good will. 

    In both the Loire and Burgundy (especially the Loire), who you visit will be related to your ability to communicate in French. If you speak zero French, gravitate to the bigger or more international wineries. Huet in Vouvray is very well set up to do tours in English, for example.

    Do you actively buy French wine? If so, then lean on your distributors. Any sort of connection through trade channels will result in a better or more special tasting than if you just call them up. 

    In Burgundy you must eat at Ma Cuisine in Beaune. You must! I had terrible luck in the Loire but I'm sure others in this forum will have sage advice.

    Otherwise, build in time to your schedule to get lost. Being on time to a winery is the single greatest courtesy you can honor. And try to see as many vineyards as you can. It took me far too long in my career to realize that that was where the magic happened.

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