Discovering French wine - from a Sheffield classroom

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It’s a long way from the picturesque hillside vineyards of Nuit-St-Georges to a classroom at Sheffield Hallam University.

But a taste of the Burgundy region’s most famous village apellations, and their highly finessed and acclaimed wines, was brought to the Steel City for a special international presentation.

Restauranteurs, wine traders, students and lecturers learned about the fascinating history of the wines, as well as taking part in a live tasting in the event from Sheffield Business School, in association with the Bureau Interprofessionel des Vins de Bourgogne.

“The thing about Bendictine monks is they tend to have stability, they don’t go wandering around the world”, joked Professor Gareth Morgan, a BIVB-accredited International Burgundy Wine Educator.

Winemaking in the region, dubbed the hills of gold, goes back to the first and second centuries.

It was the diligent records kept by monks which charted how grapes grown in such a small region could be developed - and why experts know how to produce such subtle variations of wine, depending on the vineyard’s position on a hill, to the sun, or soil composition.

Today, some 20,000 people work in the industry across the region.

The live presentation featured some of those winemakers - all proud to extoll the many virtues of the village’s wine.

One said: “Never open a bottle of Nuit-St-George’s alone, always share it with a friend. And the best glass, is always the last.”

And so to the wines, tasted in synchrony with other groups across the world, and expert Jean-Pierre Renard via video link.

All six drinks may have been grown just hundreds of metres apart but were strikingly different - some light, oaky, others bold and spicy like the Aux Perdrix 2013 from Domaine des Perdrix.

Saved until last was a glass from the vineyards that gave the village its name, Les Saints-Georges: bursting with very ripe fruit from 40-year-old vines.

Alistair Myers, co-owner of Rafters restaurant in Nether Green and the city’s first certified sommelier, was at the presentation.

He said: “For these sort of wines it is very rare to get the chance to sit down and cross taste several of them - so this is a great opportunity.”

See the full feature, plus our review of wines for Christmas, in Profile magazine inside the Sheffield Telegraph today.