Where It All Began – Part 7

Where It All Began – Part 7

Where It All Began is a multi-part series written by Ian Hanna – a story of the early days of John Hanna & Sons and our history as wine importers in Canada dating back to the 1970s. You can click here if you’d like to start from the beginning of this series.

I am of the well-tested opinion the best croissants in the world are made in Burgundy and for many years we had a favourite source for these incredible flaky, oozing-with-butter delicacies at a Boulangerie located on the Place du Monument in the centre of the village of Puligny- Montrachet.

Which is where we picked up our feast for breakfast, before heading back to the Grand Maison and offices to visit with Pierre and Vincent Maufoux for our usual business updates and planning session for the coming year.

Following the meetings, of course, it was time to taste some wines in the cellars with Pierre while Vincent departed to make the arrangements for lunch.

We tasted through a number of wines with Pierre – a range of white and red Burgundies from barrel – it was June and most of the wines from the previous vintage, although not all, were finished their malolactic fermentation and well ready for assessment.

We finished up in the cellars by just before noon and headed outside to meet Vincent who loaded us into his car to depart for an incredibly special lunch.  He had collected up a number of bottles as well as an amazing array of pastries, charcuterie and breads and we headed north, up to the top of the Cote d’Or and onward towards the high ridge running above the great white wine vineyards of Burgundy.

The Cote d’Or is a limestone escarpment which runs from northeast to southwest from Marsannay (near Dijon) in the north to the villages of Santenay and Maranges in the south. This ridge affords a long stretch of south-eastern exposures – the very best for vine growing in the northern hemisphere. Facing southeast allows the vineyards exposure to the morning sun and this contributes to longer days of ripening.

The limestone composition of the Cote d’Or is perfect for the growing of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – the great grapes of Burgundy.

Off the road we went, along a track through a farmer’s field to the edge of the cliffs. The spectacular view from left to right included the villages and vineyards stretching from Pommard/Volnay in the north through Auxey Duresses, Meursault, Saint Aubin and the Montrachets, moving our gazes southward.

It was a sunny day, without a cloud in the sky. We found a comfortable place to spread out our picnic lunch of fresh baguettes, sliced meats and cheeses, cornichons and a generous portion of the most delicious Jambon Persillé – the amazingly delicious Burgundian jellied ham hock and parsley terrine!

With this spread of treats we sipped and swilled chilled bottles of a fantastic Meursault 1er Cru “Charmes” and a hauntingly delicious Puligny Montrachet “Folatieres” – two of Prosper Maufoux’s most special white wines.

It was a delightful afternoon – we so enjoyed the delicious local food and outstanding wines, not to mention the gorgeous views out over one of the world’s most appreciated and historic vineyard settings.

We had an exciting trip planned and it had all started with this extraordinary visit with the Maufoux family in Santenay.

When we began John Hanna & Sons Ltd., our very first agency was with Maufoux. We could not have been more fortunate as we were quickly introduced to a wine Family with the highest levels of character who produced wines of style and quality – something for which we would search out with every company and product we represented.


Ian Hanna – John Hanna & Sons Ltd.

Continue Reading the 5 Part “Where It All Began” story….