November Bourgogne, France for Hospices de Beaune, Autumn Weather, Budget Travel
If you’ve been dreaming of visiting the world’s most hallowed Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards in Burgundy or Bourgogne, as the French now prefer the world call it, November offers several opportunities. First, on November 19th, 2023, the Hospices de Beaune will run again. The event is deemed by many in the wine world the most famous of all charity wine auctions. The story dates to 1443 when the iconic Hôtel-Dieu, located in central Beaune and known for its colorful tiles, was built as a refuge for the sick. The charity proceeds benefit the hospital, a modern facility now located on the outskirts of the city, and other good causes. The Hospices also marks the new vintage. Even if you’re not there to buy, participating in one of the wine world’s oldest, cherished events is a singular experience.
Of course, the popularity of the event raises competition for lodging and room rates, so if you’d rather avoid crowds and delight in low season, pick an earlier or later week to visit. Just remember to pack a jacket and umbrella. While the days are shorter and the sun hangs lower, drinking an earthy red by a cozy fireplace in a historic manor house doesn’t get more French countryside.
For the best value wine to buy and a better assurance of wine being available to buy (poor weather has shrunk recent vintages while prices continue rising from global demand), consider concentrating your time around Marsannay at the northern tip and Santenay at the southern tip of Côte d'Or, respectively, and Côte Chalonnaise. Sitting south of the Côte de Beaune, both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay dominate production in Côte Chalonnaise though the small but fascinating village of Bouzeron is a historic Aligoté-only appellation. The main wine producing areas to visit are Rully, Mercurey, Givry, and Montagny, a bit further south. For a nice cross-section, book tastings with Domaine Jean Fournier in Marsannay, Domaine Jessiaume in Santenay, Domaine Xavier et Guillemette Besson in Givry, Domaine Aubert et Pamela de Villaine in Bouzeron, and Château de Chamirey in Mercurey and Maison Joseph Drouhin in Beaune itself.