After several years of anticipation, Dijon’s Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin finally opened on Friday 6 May 2022 in Dijon! An eagerly awaited event by scores of visitors all looking forward to seeing what this centre holds for them in store inside… So come with me to explore this site which celebrates the gastronomic meal of the French.

I have been to all the exhibitions held at the Cité, so it is time for me to check out some other interactive activities. I therefore decided to try a wine-themed experience by the main entrance.

Of the 4 workshops organised by the Ecole des Vins de Bourgogne, I decided to go to ‘Bourgogne, vins de terroir’. After having learnt about the ‘Climats’ in the other exhibitions at the Cité, what could be better than a workshop on the theme of terroir?

I was welcomed by Charlotte, our guide for this 30 to 40 minute session and she explained that the goal of this introductory workshop is to help participants understand the meaning of the ‘Climats’ and ‘terroirs’ of Burgundy. These two notions are as interesting as they are complex, and essential if you are interested in oenology.

In the first two minutes, we are already plunged into the world of wine with videos projected onto the walls of the room, for a 360° view of the vineyards, cellars and the work done on the vines. This was a great introduction that everyone found captivating, even magical.

We were to see these magnificent images throughout the whole session, taking all the senses on a journey and really encouraging us to want to find out more!

Chablis or Saint-Véran?

After learning the basics, we move on to the much-awaited moment of tasting! This is called a horizontal tasting, which means a tasting of different wines from the same vintage.

Charlotte begins by serving us two glasses of white wine, and explains that the first tasting will be from two vineyards that are quite far from one another as we will be comparing a Saint-Véran and a Chablis, which are 200 kilometres apart.

We begin by observing the colour of the two wines, then move onto the nose and attempt to recognise the different scents.

Charlotte guides us through these 2 exercises which are not easy when you are new to the scene, but I’ve always wanted to take part in a guided wine tasting so I’m happy to follow her instructions!

It is all about the details and you’ll see that the room was designed with this exercise in mind. Our guide helps, informs and advises us, with great ease and professionalism. This first discovery obviously ends with a tasting of the two wines, one after the other.

So similar yet so different…

Then it was time to move on to the second part of the workshop: red wines. This time our guide focuses on how the terroir impacts the wine. She serves us two wines from vines grown in plots next to one another.

We go through the same steps as for the white wines, observing the colour, moving on to the nose and then the tasting. Here again, I had difficulty recognising the fruit that our guide was talking about, but at least I knew where to start this time. As we say where I come from: “You learn from your mistakes!” 

After this tasting, we understand what Charlotte was getting at with her explanations, that you can have as many differences (or even more) between two wines from neighbouring plots as you can between two wines that are 200 km away from one another.

That’s when you realise that so many factors have to be taken into account (I’ll let you find out about them yourselves) and that all the explanations from our guide start to make sense.

I really liked this experience and found this workshop to be interesting and enjoyable. It made me want to practice analysing the colour, nose and taste of other wines…

And that works out well because I’ll be able to practice my new skills and take my senses on yet another journey at the Cave de la Cité!


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