It was a beautiful evening in Beaune. We had checked into our small hotel and headed downstairs for dinner. Many memories of that summer in France as a college student studying French have faded with time, but not this meal and not the wine. This red elixir moved me. I had never had wine like this before. Our hosts kept bringing us bottle after bottle to the dinner table. We drank well into the night. Our dinner celebration spilled into the streets near our hotel, where you could hear our laughter before a backdrop of a clear, starry night. My best friend on this trip, who never drank wine, was giddy with delight. She said, “I don’t even like wine!” But that night, we all fell in love with Beaune, with Burgundy, with pinot noir.
The award-winning documentary, Burgundy: People with a Passion for Wine, a film by Rudi Goldman Productions released October 13, 2016, captures a similar sense of celebration. Through a series of video snapshots across time and place, the door into Burgundy’s wine, culture, and lifestyle is opened to us. For one hour, we become Burgundy. We experience the excitement of harvest. We learn of the power of Mother Nature’s wrath when hail damages precious grapevines. We listen to the wisdom of notable producers such as Maison Alex Gambal, Domaine Huber-Verdereau, Maison Louis Jadot, Maison Joseph Drouhin, Coffinet-Duvernay, Maison Olivier Leflaive, Château de la Crée, Domaine Vincent Bouzereau, and Château de Santenay. Other perspectives of Burgundy, such as those from Laurent Peugeot (Michelin Starred Chef/Owner of Le Charlemagne, Pernand-Vergelesses), Jérôme Brochot (Michelin Starred Chef/Owner, Jérôme Brochot Hotel-Restaurant Montceau-les-Mines), Willy Roulendes (a grape harvester from New Zealand), and Romain Schneider (Tonnelerie François Frères Saint Romain), are intertwined to give us a comprehensive portrait of the wine, food, and people of Burgundy. Scattered amongst these renowned tastemakers, we catch a glimpse of other cultural aspects of Burgundy. Especially captivating for me was Burgundy truffle hunting with Karine Magnin of Les Truffières de Crépey, Aubaine.
During this hour inside of Burgundy, we attend celebratory events such as a traditional harvest lunch, the Great Burgundy Wine Festival, the Confrérie des Grumeurs de Santenay, the Hospices de Beaune Press Tasting, the Semi-Marathon de la Vente des vins de Beaune, the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction, and La Paulée de Meursault.
As states the film, Burgundy winemaking is like Baroque music. It possesses a duality of complexity and simplicity. Its minimalist approach and great diversity of terroir result in some of the world’s greatest wines, exhibiting exemplary structure, acidity, and balance. Vintage variation means that these wines are never duplicated again.
As explains Cécile Mathiaud, press contact for the Bureau interprofessionel des vins de Bourgogne, there exists a word in French that we do not have, gourmand(e). It means to eat, drink, and enjoy with pleasure. With this one word, she identifies the essence of Burgundy. Across these portraitures of Burgundy, one begins to feel the humanity and passion that is Burgundy. This film took me back to that evening in Beaune years ago. In that moment and during this viewing, nous sommes gourmands. Nous sommes Bourgogne.
Video and photos courtesy of Rudi Goldman Productions