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Bike Through the Côte de Nuits Wine Region with VBT

Cote de Nuits biking
Côte de Nuits, an area located along the northern flank of the Cote d’Or limestone ridge that serves as the heart of the Burgundy Wine region, is known for cultivating the best Pinot noir in the world. Six of the region’s communes produce Grand cru wine—the highest distinction of wine in the Burgundy region—mostly made from Pinot noir with one exception (Musigny has gran cru distinction for both its Pinot noir and Chardonnay grapes). Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are thought to be indigenous to Burgundy and therefore are of the best quality in the world.  Despite the abundance of Pinot Noir in Côte de Nuits, oenophiles will attest that the variances in terroir (soil makeup and climate variations) and production techniques make the taste of each vineyard’s wine extremely unique—even within various vintages from the same winery.

The soil in Côte de Nuits is largely composed of limestone—a byproduct of the ancient inland sea that once covered9-L Burgundy—which provides both the ideal amount of nutrients and drainage for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. In fact, in the 18th century Côte de Nuits wines were known for their “health giving properties” and were the only wine that King Louis XIV would drink upon recommendation from his personal physician.  This association with the King actually provided a marketing boost for the Côte de Nuits wines over nearby regions like Champagne and Bordeaux at the time.

Clos de Vouges
Travelers on our Burgundy: The Wine Route tour will cycle through some of these famed vineyards as we’ll wind our way to Nuits–Saint–Georges, the main commune and namesake of the Côte de Nuits region. Upon arrival, we’ll hop off our bikes for lunch on our own at any of the town’s restaurants. There are many wine growers’ cellars in close proximity to downtown Nuits–Saint–Georges or if you crave variety be sure to stop in to the Le Cavon de Bacchus wine shop which stocks many local vintages. One of our favorite local wines is Clos de Vougeot, which is the largest single vineyard in Côte de Nuits to achieve the grand cru designation.

169-XLAfter lunch, we’ll be treated to a lovely cycling route on our way to Dijon along small access roads that are mostly used by local vineyard workers. During our ride, we’ll see the same vineyards where Cistercian monks toiled for centuries making wine for religious services. It is thought that the very first red wines in the world were made here and that monks macerated the grape skins so the typical rosé wine would more closely resemble the blood of Christ. As we make our way north we’ll reconnect with the Route des Grands Crus, where you may stop and explore charming villages such as Vosne-Romanée and Gevrey-Chambertin before reaching Dijon and our hotel.

Route de Grands Crus
This is just one example of a typical day spent on our Burgundy: The Wine Route biking vacation. To read more what our travelers have to say about this popular tour click here.  If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Taste the Wine of the Loire Valley

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The Loire is the longest river in France, flowing westward from the high massifs of the French Alps to the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic Ocean. Along it’s 600+ mile journey, the Loire serves as the lifeblood to a stunning region known as the “Garden of France” that is full of verdant vineyards and majestic châteaux that dot its valley. The richness of its soil has facilitated a century-old history of grape growing in the region. In fact, during the High Middle Ages Loire Wines were the most sought after in western Europe, even more so than Bordeaux. Travelers on our Loire Valley biking tour will love spending their days tracing the river’s banks and stopping to marvel at architectural wonders and sip word-class wines. The Loire region produces a variety of grapes that are used in the making of red, white and sparkling wines, and during our tour you’ll get to sample quite a few. Here are some of our favorites.

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Chenin Blanc

This white grape’s high acidity allows for its malleability in making _7096579-Leverything from sparkling wines like Chemant to sweet dessert wines. We’ll get to taste some examples of wine made from Chenin Blanc when we visit Vouvray, an AOC—which stands for Appellation D’origine Conrolee, France’s certification for geographical indication of produce—that is known for its a dry style that develops hints of honey as it ages.

Sauvignon Blanc
IMG_0629-LAlthough this green grape can trace its French roots to Bordeaux, there are many AOC’s in the Loire Valley that harvest Sauvignon Blanc. The difference of the soil in Loire—which drains better and is more gravel based—imparts hints of minerals and spiciness; whereas Sauvignon Blanc’s in Bordeaux tend to taste more fruity. Wines made from Sauvignon Blanc are often served with cheese and perhaps more surprisingly, sushi.


Cabernet Franc
While a majority of wines produced in the Loire valley are white, this black IMG_0575-Lgrape is used to make some of the region’s best reds. When vinified alone, one can detect a peppery taste and aromas that recall tobacco and raspberries. However, Cabernet Franc is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cot Noir, especially in the Amboise-Touraine region. VBT travelers will taste wines made from Cabernet Franc during our visits to Blois and the charming village of Azay-le-Redeau, when we sample vintages once produced by local monks.

These are just some examples of the world-class wines you’ll enjoy on our Loire Valley biking vacation. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit www.vbt.com . They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

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