Yesterday was a celebration of the successful entry of ‘Burgundy’ into the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. If you have seen some/most of the coverage since this was announced on Saturday, you will have mainly noted that Champagne, also a new ‘inscription’ has taken the headlines, and that only the last paragraph mentions Burgundy.
Truth be told, it’s really a sub-set of Burgundy, one that we Anglo-Saxon’s refer to as the Côte d’Or, but the locals will quietly correct you and say that the inscription is actually for the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits – and in this instance, the definition used was Chenove to Maranges – inclusive. And the ‘grounds’ for inscription?
- To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.
- To be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.
Beginning in 2007, it’s been a long road to achieve this local enhancement of ‘status’ – if it was ever required – and make no mistake it has been both resource intensive and requiring strong leadership. Clearly Aubert de Villaine was the symbol of the bid concept, but not merely a symbol, he was a driver and tireless promoter; his goal now achieved, don’t be surprised if Guillaume d’Angerville takes over what will inevitably now become a more symbolic rôle. One major positive of the successful UNESCO bid will be the greater attention to the fabric of the vineyards themselves – many have ramshackle walls and boundaries, sometimes shored-up with ugly daubs of concrete – I think (and hope) that maintenance will now be more ‘considered’ – after-all, ignoring weather traumas, the inflow of cash into the cellars of Burgundy has never been higher…
I had a special day of visits yesterday, arranged by the BIVB, to the most emblematic corners of Burgundy (sorry, I mean the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits!) – fundamental showcases of the cultural fabric of the region – and in much more bearable temperatures too; let’s say 28°C. We finished with a press conference and a garden picnic with a band and then fireworks in the grounds of the Château de Meursault – about 3,000 other people joined in the celebration too!
A day to remember!