Northern Burgundy Served Up With Rabbit #Winophiles

Vineyard view in Morey St. Denis in Burgundy

The Cote d’Or is one long set of vineyards on the eastern slope of this old mountain ridge

French #Winophiles Linger in Burgundy
I love Bourgogne wines and we drink plenty of them at our house. Lucky for me, our French #Winophiles group is lingering in the region for both May and June! In May, we’re focusing on the northern reaches, including Chablis and the Cote d’Or. Grilling and barbecue are not exactly typical French cooking methods, but the wines are very adaptable, so come along on the journey! Don’t forget to look farther down in the post for other great suggestions from my fellow Winophiles.

Burgundy wines paired with rabbit roasted on the Primo ceramic grill

Rabbit cooking in the Primo Grill on indirect heat. Don’t like rabbit? Substitute chicken and all will be good!

Chablis Region
The Burgundy geographic region is located in the center of France. Most of the Burgundy wine region is located on a long strip of land on the east side of an ancient low mountain range running between Dijon and Lyon. That is, except for Chablis. Chablis is definitely claimed as one of several sub-regions that make up the entire wine region, but it is physically separated from the rest of Burgundy’s vineyards lying about 150 km, or about 100 miles west of Dijon. Not surprisingly, the Chablis region is named after the town of Chablis at the center. The soil in this region is an old seabed, it is composed of large amounts of limestone and even fossil seashells. The region makes only white wines, made from the Chardonnay grape. If your Chardonnay experience is limited to the buttery/oaky sort, then you are in for a surprise in Chablis!

Chablis region courtesy of

Chablis region courtesy of

Domaine du Colombier
Domaine du Colombier is a member of the Vignerons Indépendants, an organization of small, independent French winegrowers. I picked up this wine at the Salon (wine buying show) in Lyon in 2015, and I’m happy to report it’s available in the US! The Mothe family has owned the property since 1887, but only started bottling and selling their own wines in the 1980’s. The region is cooler than the main Burgundy region, and the soil imparts unique characteristics in the wines. Additionally, the Chablis traditions do not involve using much (or any) new oak on the wines. These wines are typically very dry and lean with high acidity. However, I found that the Domaine du Colombier wines are allowed to go through malolactic fermentation, so they are a bit softer and less bracingly acidic than many Chablis. They are aged in stainless tanks, so they don’t take on any oaky notes whatsoever.

Domaine du Colombier Chablis Premier Cru from the Fourchaume Climat

Domaine du Colombier Chablis Premier Cru from the Fourchaume Climat (vineyard)

Domaine du Colombier Chablis 1er Cru “Fourchaume” AOC 2014 ($20 online)
Eye: Clear, pale lemon yellow
Nose: Clean, briny coral and chalk, lemons, aroma has some depth to it
Mouth: Dry, medium body, high acidity, medium + finish. Flavor includes lemon rind, some chalk. While the acidity is high, there is a softness in the body of the wine from having gone through malolactic fermentation. I absolutely loved this wine!

Côte de Nuits
The Côte de Nuits forms the northern half of the Côte d’Or, the most famous part of the Burgundy wine region. The Côte de Nuits features a soil and microclimate most conducive to red wines made from the Pinot Noir grape. No blends here! There are a few white wines made from Chardonnay, but not many.

Côte de Nuits map

Côte de Nuits map courtesy of

Our Domaine Robert Gibourg Story
We came to this wine by one of those accidents with a happy ending. Our plan for the day around Morey-Saint-Denis included stopping for a quick lunch at the artisan bakery in town. When we showed up a little after noon, to our shock, the bakery was closed for the rest of the day with a little sign put up that morning. Oh no! We quickly jumped in the car and drove down to the D-974 to see if there was anything close by. There was nothing obvious within sight. We saw sign we didn’t quite understand, so we pulled in. A young woman opened a second floor window and asked (in French) if she could help. They were a winery, not open that day but they did have some leftover bread and cheeses from the weekend tours and she offered to host us. We had a wonderful time as she practiced her English and we practiced our French. We thanked her, paid for lunch and bought one of their nicer bottles to take with us – here it is!

Domaine Robert Gibourg Morey-Saint-Denis Clos de la Bidaude.

Domaine Robert Gibourg Morey-Saint-Denis Clos de la Bidaude. A “Clos” is a vineyard enclosed by a stone wall.

Domaine Robert Gibourg Morey-Saint-Denis Clos de la Bidaude AOC 2013 (25€ at the winery)
Eye: Clear, very pretty pale ruby with a ruby edge
Nose: A bit of barnyard funk immediately on opening, but it quickly settles to a nice subtle level. Clean, medium intensity.  Bright red cherries, cinnamon, a bit of floral hiding in the background, roses? Fruit is balanced by the other aromas, not purely fruity.
Mouth: Bone dry, medium body, medium+ acidity, medium- tannins. Overall, lean, subtle fruit and herbal mix of flavors. Medium finish. A very nice village level wine.

Rabbit with cream sauce served with two Burgundy wines.

Rabbit is a common choice in France, you’ll need to do a little searching to find it in the US.

Chablis or Morey-Saint-Denis with Rabbit?
Our rabbit recipe features a whole rabbit roasted over indirect heat on the grill, with just a bit of smoke. The rabbit is finished with a delicious sauce of cream, mustard and cornichons. I was initially thinking the Chablis would be a bit too austere for the creamy sauce. I was pleasantly surprised by the Chablis – it had been through malolactic fermentation, so it had a bit more body and was less tartly acidic.  It was excellent with the rabbit in cream sauce. Also, the Morey St. Denis was excellent, it helped that the wine more earth driven than fruit driven. Fruit forward American Pinot Noirs would have been a bit of a miss with the fruit out in front. The better pairing boiled down to whether you prefer drinking a white or red wine.

Burgundy Ideas from the French Winophiles
Take a look at what our Winophiles group has cooked up for our virtual visit of Chablis and the Côte d’Or. If you see this in time, join our chat on Twitter at #Winophiles on Saturday May 20, 10-11am CDT. We love visitors!

Jeff Burrows of foodwineclick lures us to “Northern Burgundy Served Up With Rabbit.”

Jill Barth of L’Occasion schools us on “Thomas Jefferson in Burgundy.”

Michelle Williams of Rockin Red Blog tipples towards “A Journey Through Burgundy, Part 1 Chablis and Côte d’Or.”

Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest hosts “Saint-Aubin in Burgundy Invites You To Dine.”

Martin Redmond of Enofylz Wine Blog  throws down “Back To Back White Burgundy; Chablis vs Côte de Beaune

Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley of Wine Predator serves up  Chablis and the Sea.”

L.M. Archer of binnotes mulls over “Burgundy: Wines of Intention.”

…and Jane Niemeyer of Always Ravenous ladles up St Aubin Premier Cru paired with Corn and Lobster Chowder

Rabbit with Mustard and Cornichons

I moved the original preparation for this dish out to the grill to allow infusion of grill flavors and just a bit of smoke. If you don’t have the interest or the grill, you can easily prepare it in your oven. In fact, it will be even easier there!

This recipe comes from the “Pedaling through Burgundy Cookbook” by Sarah Chase. It’s long out of print but readily available used through Amazon for about $5 delivered to your door, highly recommended! If you’re reluctant to try rabbit, chicken will be a perfectly good substitute. But you really should try rabbit!

I served this with roasted & smashed new potatoes and fresh broccoli, also cooked on the grill.


  • 1 medium size rabbit, cleaned and cut into six pieces by your butcher. Cook the heart and liver for your dog or cat, they’ll love you for it!
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard + 1 Tbsp for coating the rabbit
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 6 cornichons minced finely
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Or, set your grill for indirect heat and smoke if you like, and preheat to 350°F
  • Process the bread crumbs, mustard, parsley and EVOO in a food processor
  • Coat the rabbit pieces with a light coating of mustard to help the breadcrumbs stick. Salt and pepper the rabbit.
  • Place the rabbit pieces in a roasting pan and coat the top side with the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Roast to an internal temperature in the thigh of 160°F, about 45 minutes.
  • Transfer the rabbit pieces to a platter, cover with foil to keep warm
  • Pour the cream and vinegar into the pan and heat to boiling over medium heat on the stovetop.
  • Fold in the cornichons and cook until the sauce thickens a bit, 4-5 minutes.
  • Plate the rabbit and serve the sauce on top or on the side.

Local Sources:

  • Rabbit purchased locally at Clancey’s Meat and Fish, supplied by Singerhouse Rabbit Farm in Wisconsin.
  • Edmond Fallot mustard is the only family owned mustard house remaining in Burgundy. After we toured the mustard factory, they are now our house mustard, as they are available locally at Surdyk’s Deli.

Add a bit of smoky flavor to your roast rabbit and pair it with wines from Burgundy. Visit


15 Responses to “Northern Burgundy Served Up With Rabbit #Winophiles”
  1. Lynn says:

    It’s too bad rabbit isn’t easier to find in the US, a great pairing and two styes of wine close to my heart!

  2. Beautiful pairings, Jeff! I suppose that’s one of the marvels of Burgundy – that both a red and a white wine matched nicely with the same dish (which, by the way, looks delicious!)

  3. Love the story behind Domaine Robert Gilborg. Both wines sound lovely with the rabbit.

  4. Jane says:

    Rabbit….I’ll have to try and track some down here in Atlanta. The recipe and pairings sounds delicious. Your photos are excellent! Edmond Fallot also has become our house mustard too. I am able to get it at our local Wholefoods, but not the variety they have in Beaune.

    • Jane, Bravo, I would encourage you to find a rabbit source. It really is very much like chicken and not gamy. Why bother? Because it’s similar to chicken but not the same! And moutarde Fallot spices up any dish!

  5. Your post a great read Jeff. It’s cool that you indicated the better pairing depended on whether you prefer white or red! Well done as always!

    • Thanks, Martin. Julie has a strong preference for white wine, so I’ve taken to heart the fact that the best pairing does need to include a wine you actually like to drink!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Jeff Burrows of foodwineclick lures us to “Northern Burgundy Served Up With Rabbit.” […]

  2. […] Jeff Burrows of foodwineclick lures us to “Northern Burgundy Served Up With Rabbit.” […]

  3. […] 3.5.3208 Check out my fellow French #winophiles and their adventures in Burgundy. Jeff Burrows of foodwineclick lures us to “Northern Burgundy Served Up With Rabbit.” […]

  4. […] so much, we decided we needed to spend two months exploring the region. Last month, we were in Chablis and the Northern part of the Côte d’Or: the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune. The wines of these northern regions are real beauties, […]

  5. […] Check out my fellow French #winophiles and their adventures in Burgundy. Jeff Burrows of foodwineclick lures us to “Northern Burgundy Served Up With Rabbit.” […]

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