As an introduction to wine tasting in Burgundy, it doesn’t come much better than Santenay, a lovely place to start your wine travels moving south to north through better known ….. but more expensive wine areas. From The World Atlas of Wine:
“After the hamlet of Haut-Santenay and the little town of Bas-Santenay, the Cote half turns to take up its characteristic slope to the east. This southern end of the Cote de Beaune is the most confused geologically and in many ways is atypical of the Cote as a whole. Complex faults in the structure of the hills make radical changes of soil and subsoil in Santenay. Part of the commune is analogous to parts of the Cote de Nuits giving deep flavoured …. red wine. Other parts give light wine more typical of the Cote de Beaune.”
It was the last day of our two weeks stay in Meursault and Don and I decided to spend the Sunday afternoon driving around the vineyards en route to Santenay, then a tasting at Domaine Mestre Pere et Fils to finally fill the boots of our cars. Making this little trip in Don’s brand new Mercedes sports soft top added to the enjoyment too!
We were welcomed at Domaine Mestre, which is in the town square of Santenay, by a delightful lady, now retired, but who works in the tasting room on Sundays to give the Mestre family a day off. She had worked for them full time for many years,but it wasn’t until we had left I realised I didn’t know her name! Not very mindful on my part at all!
We tasted our way through 8-10 wines, white and red, village and Premier Cru as we listened to the explanations about three Climats in particular, the three Premier Cru Climats of Beaurepaire, Passe-Temps, and Clos Faubard. You will see each of these on the map above, and although not highlighted by Jancis Robinson as “the best” in Santenay, they all represented good value for money at around £20 per bottle 2013, 2014 and 2011 vintages respectively.
Poor old Don really had to hold back as he was driving, so most of the photos he took with my camera whilst only tasting a couple himself. He really must learn to spit more! Anyway, at the end of a very pleasant Sunday afternoon my personal collection grew by a dozen each of Santenay Beaurepaire 2013 (white), Santenay Passe-Temps 2014 (white), and Santenay Clos Faubard 2011 (red). Clearly the whites were chardonnay and the reds pinot noir. Domaine Mestre and their Santenay wines …… highly recommended with my score at the end of the wine tasting being 85 points for each of the three wines I bought. And why begin your wine travels through Burgundy here? Simply because you can experience white and red, chardonnay and pinot noir, light and heavier, varying style and terroir ALL in the same village, all grown around the village.