Going boutique at Burgundy region wineries

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An arched cellar at the Chateau de la Cree, a vineyard housed in a 15th-century chateau in the Cote de Beaune.
An arched cellar at the Chateau de la Cree, a vineyard housed in a 15th-century chateau in the Cote de Beaune.
Burgundy is one of France's most celebrated wine regions, home to popular cities such as Dijon and Beaune. For the wine lover who likes to veer off the beaten vineyard, here is a roundup of the top boutique wineries and restaurants in Burgundy.


• Where to sip: Chablis is in the northernmost part of Burgundy and is known for its eponymous whites. Franck Chretien, proprietor of Chablis Vititours gives a thorough introduction to the Chablis region and explains what makes its whites so renowned. The highlight is a taste of a premier cru overlooking the hills that hold seven grand cru vineyards.

Driving south, the next major stop will be Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy. A visit to the Chateau de la Cree is a must. This American-owned vineyard is housed in a 15th-century chateau surrounded by rolling hills bursting with juicy purple grapes.

As you leave the Cote de Beaune, make your way into the Cote Chalonnaise, wines from which are thought to be the hidden secret of Burgundy. An absolute must is a tasting at the Domaine des Ducs de Magenta Abbaye de Morgeot. Perched at the end of a dusty dirt road, the remnants of the 12th-century abbey is a beacon in a sea of green vineyards.

• Where to eat: In the heart of Chablis is Au Fil du Zinc, a new gastronomic concept that has brought a touch of chic to the quaint French village. The modern menu is a five-course tasting endeavor pairable with wine. During my visit, the menu was a decadent dance of cod, corn soup, foie gras and salmon.

While visiting Beaune, make reservations at La Maison du Colombier. Roland Chanliaud, an icon of Beaune gastronomy, has taken on a new challenge with the opening of this restaurant. The restaurant is rustic French kitchen meets subterranean cave, with exposed wooden beams, brick and stone. Chefs prepare food at an open counter, slicing cured meats, fresh cheeses, local meats and fish, all paired with a dizzying array of local wines.

For those who don't do subtle, a lavish lunch at Chateau de Chamirey is in order. The chateau sits on 91 acres of vines in Mercurey, 15 of which produce premier cru wines. The 18th-century vat room is where tastings are held, but the real treat at the Chateau is lunch at the Table d'hotes, which pairs sumptuous French country cooking with five of its absolute best wines.

• Where to stay:Domain Gueguen is a historical French country farmhouse in the tiny village of Prehy, near Chablis. This B&B is in the home of Celine Gueguen, a local winemaker who welcomes guests with a glass and a gorgeous rustic country breakfast table piled high with breads, pastries and local French cheeses.

Chateau de Besseuil is a completely refurbished 16th-century chateau in the heart of the Maconnais district in the south of Burgundy. The large apartment suites, each with an open fireplace, are in the main building. The Chardonnay AOC Vire-Clesse from the estate's vineyards can be enjoyed in the gourmet restaurant.

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