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Dropping in for wine tasting in Burgundy.

Dropping in for wine tasting in Burgundy Western wine enthusiasts, accustomed to the tasting-room service provided by many close-to-home vineyards, are often frustrated when traveling through Burgundy, one of France's great wine-producing regions. There, drop-in visitors interested in sampling wine often aren't welcome. In Beaune, however, one organization--the Marche aux Vins--does offer tastings of regional wines to passing travelers without an appointment. Situated in the center of this ancient walled town viewed as the wine capital of Burgundy, the Marche aux Vins is a wine market that offers about 40 Burgundian wines to taste at your own pace for about $7 (depending on exchange rate). Red wines include Clos de Vougeot, Corton, Gevrey-Chambertin, Hospices de Beaune, Pommard, and Vosne-Romanee; whites are represented by Chablis, Mercurey, Meursault, Pouilly-Fuisse, and Puligny-Montrachet. Vintages range from 3 to 10 years; some are much older. On entering, you pay the fee, then receive a taste-vin (a small, shallow metal cup professionals use when sampling) and a list of wines being served. The cup is yours to keep; if you buy wines, your entry fee is discounted against the purchase. After paying, visitors step down into a dim, musty cellar, then move up through several rooms. Bottles of wines sit on barrels at candlelit posts trailing through the building, which dates back in spots to the 13th and 15th centuries; near the posts, the same wines are for sale. Originally, the oldest church in Beaune, Eglise des Cordeliers, occupied the structure. High ceilings, Gothic archways, and stained glass evoke the building's history. The market, open daily from 9:30 to noon and 2:30 to 6:30, is on Rue Nicolas-Rolin; telephone It is closed from December 15 through January 20.

PHOTO : Behind old facade in the quiet heart of Beaune, wine market houses a cellar and tasting

PHOTO : rooms where you can try many Burgundian wines for a small sum
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Title Annotation:Beaune, France
Date:Jun 1, 1988
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