My first go to to the Saint-Vincent Tournante Wine Competition in Burgundy was in 2001. It was chilly, as standard, on the third weekend of January. As we walked into city, there have been darkish snow clouds masking a lot of the solar, however between them have been giant columns of golden daylight. It appeared biblical in portend, and certainly it was.
The pageant was in Meursault that yr, one of many heavens of white chardonnay. For a small price, you got a tasting glass to hold round your neck and, on the time, limitless tasting prospects as you walked by these historical cobblestoned streets from one wine cave to a different.
Annually there may be one other new purpose to take part within the Saint-Vincent Tournante Wine Competition in Burgundy. Right here I’ll be aware 4 particular causes to make this pageant a yearly spotlight of your calendar.
The Saint-Vincent Tournante Wine Competition, sponsored by 85 completely different mutual assist societies, has been a yearly dance of fixing villages since 1938. It “turns” from one village to the subsequent every year.
This yr, 2022, it turned to top-of-the-line white wine making areas on this planet: the communes of Puligny-Montrachet, Blagny, and Corpeau. Within the space’s finest chardonnay wines, each factor of high quality is intensified: They’re a radiant golden coloration; with the nostril within the glass we get lasting hints of vanilla and hazelnuts; and on the tongue a persistence and succulence of those notes mixed with a touch of butter, inexperienced apple, gentle touches of honey, and a complexity of different notes which are incomparable and lasting.
St. Vincent is, in fact, the patron saint of winemakers, and he has been celebrated within the Burgundy area since medieval instances. That is, essentially, a non secular pageant, for a area blessed with a number of the world’s finest terroir and an distinctive custom of winemakers that enable this blessing to return to fruition. With rising concern for the atmosphere amongst winemakers, the theme this yr was the 4 components: earth (terroir), water (the supply of all life), air (oxygen), and hearth (the solar). It’s the mixture of those 4 components that present our winemaker alchemists with the fabric to supply the golden wines of the Puligny-Montrachet grand cru, and the wonderful premier cru and native (village) wines.
Within the usually elegant however sober and modest custom of Burgundy, the emblem for the pageant, discovered on the entire tasting glasses, was a cabotte, “a small round cabin historically used for storing materials and discovering refuge from dangerous climate.” An precise cabotte was constructed for the pageant, between Corpeau and Puligny-Montrachet. Additionally they stored the initially deliberate date of 2021 (pre-COVID planning was for January 2021) on all of their promotional materials; this pageant has been in Puligny-Montrachet each 30 years since 1961. They want to proceed to emphasise this very particular custom of the date for his or her village.
Professional Tip: The town on the heart of exercise for this pageant yearly is Beaune. Few cities on this planet can have the custom and historical past of fantastic wine that you’ll discover right here. Additionally, you will discover an assortment of resorts, hostels, and Airbnbs. The selection of eating places can be intensive and glorious.
2. The Complete City(s) Shut Down
This yr, the pageant concerned three neighboring villages. As standard, the varied entrance gates into the villages have been closed to visitors, and attendees purchased a tasting equipment for 20 euros. These can usually be reserved forward of time by way of the web site.
The tasting equipment this yr consisted of an official Saint-Vincent wine glass engraved with the emblem (Absolus 36 by Lehmann Glass), a wine glass service (for round your neck), a map of the villages, and tickets for six tastings.
With the tasting glass round your neck, you’ll stroll by village streets filled with joyful guests. There are a number of factors of music and a wide range of avenue artists in your stroll connecting the wine cellars. This yr six varieties for tasting have been supplied on the entrance: Burgundy Côte d’Or White 2018, Burgundy Côte d’Or Pink 2018, Puligny-Montrachet 2017, Puligny-Montrachet 2018, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru 2018, and a thriller classic to check you and to puzzle over.
The primary festivities are all the time native and spiritual, so it may be finest to reach mid to late morning, after which consider gradual meals and gradual tasting. Take pleasure in every step with the opposite revelers. There are catering prospects, and this is Burgundy, with glorious meals, all nicely matched with the wines. There was additionally, in essential French vogue, a cell bakery with pastries. Unfold all through these three stunning villages, and the connecting roads, there have been 125 artists: bandstands, fanfares, craftsmen and ladies, and avenue artists.
3. “A River Of Like-Minded Wine Lovers”
There have been 50,000 guests this yr. Fifty thousand wine lovers going from winemaker to winemaker. Puligny-Montrachet is constructed upon a mattress of stone, so there are few caves constructed underground. The winemakers’ “caves” are typically above floor. In conventional Burgundy model, these are modest in look, however something however modest within the high quality of the wines. So guests transfer, with a river of like-minded wine lovers, from one winemaker to a different. Along with the six wines supplied with the wine equipment given on the entrance, there have been 11 official locations to have a tasting, with eating places and bistros alongside the way in which as nicely. The March climate was distinctive in heat this yr, as was the ambiance among the many guests as we loved reside music, a wide range of artisans, and an distinctive array of meals. The pageant is often the third weekend of January, so preparation for colder climate is usually essential.
Professional Tip: The pageant can require plenty of strolling, usually in a crowd and on uneven village streets. Anybody with restricted mobility might want to examine the situation in any given yr and take into consideration tips on how to handle these challenges. There’ll all the time be avenue cafés to offer a seat, and a glass, or bottle, of wine.
4. The Future
Burgundy is so wealthy in wine custom and creation that every new yr can, and does, create one other particular purpose to return to this occasion.
Following a yr in distinctive white wine territory, the grasp of the Brotherhood of The Knights of Tastevin introduced throughout the weekend of this yr’s pageant that 2023’s shall be in Couchey (a village adjoining to Dijon) and can return to the normal third weekend of January.
So the Saint-Vincent Tournante Wine Competition turns to the northernmost village within the Côte de Nuit. Couchey has the particular distinction of being the one village in Burgundy with the three colours of wine — white, rosé, and purple — with AOC village labels of wine high quality. From this northern head of Côte de Nuit, there’s a tail of the very best purple wines in Burgundy, and a number of the finest pinot noir on this planet. The title Côte de Nuit comes from that of Nuits-Saint-Georges, the southern fringe of this magnificent beast, and in between now we have ten different terroirs that needs to be recognized to all wine lovers.
All of those villages join geographically and in title, with the area this yr (Côte de Beaune) being inside what is named collectively the Côte d’Or, or the “Gold Coast” of wine. Worldwide, it’s troublesome to discover a wine area extra “golden” in high quality, and in value, than the Côte d’Or. Selective, well-informed selections will depart you with wines that really enhance, tremendously, in high quality and worth with age.
All the wines of the Côte de Nuit are stated to have “muscle and energy,” however all of them, as nicely, age to a stability of velvety tannins and fantastic complexity. From the refined, gentle energy of Marsannay wines, with prospects of rosé, the wine choices will add tannin, depth, and potential for getting old as they transfer in the direction of the south in Nuits-Saint-George.
So subsequent yr we will look ahead to the distinction of a unprecedented purple wine area, including a stability of rosé, with reminiscences of the nectar of this yr’s distinctive white wines. Annually we flip from one village to a different on this Côte d’Or, a wine lover’s heaven.
There’s a lot right here to take pleasure in, however remember to take some dwelling with you. For any wine shopping for in Burgundy, it’s useful to know the precise wine high quality categorization system of the area. This website will aid you perceive the variations between grands crus, premiers crus, and village and regional wines.