top of page

BURGUNDY

Overview

The Burgundy wine region is located in eastern France and is one of the most prestigious and sought-after wine regions in the world. The region is famous for producing some of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines in the world and is divided into several sub-regions, including Chablis, Côte d'Or, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais, and Beaujolais


HISTORY

The history of the Burgundy wine region can be traced back to the Roman times, when the Romans first introduced winemaking to the region. However, it was during the Middle Ages that the wine industry really took off in Burgundy. The monasteries played a crucial role in the development of the wine industry, and many of the best vineyards were owned by the church.


The wines of Burgundy began to gain international recognition in the 18th century, when they became popular with the aristocracy in Europe. In the 19th century, the region experienced a period of decline due to disease and the effects of phylloxera, which devastated the vineyards. However, in the 20th century, the region experienced a renaissance, as winemakers began to focus on quality rather than quantity.


Today, the Burgundy wine region is divided into five sub-regions: Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise, and Mâconnais. Each of these sub-regions has its own unique terroir, which produces wines with distinct characteristics. The region is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, which are used to produce some of the most sought-after wines in the world.


REGIONS

Burgundy is divided into five main sub-regions, each with its own unique terroir, wine styles, and grape varieties.


Chablis: Chablis is the northernmost sub-region of Burgundy and is known for its crisp, mineral-driven white wines made from the Chardonnay grape. The wines are famous for their acidity and are produced in a range of styles, from dry to sweet. It is famous for its dry, crisp white wines made from Chardonnay grapes. The Chablis wine region can be divided into four main appellations, each with its distinct terroir and style:


Chablis Grand Cru: This is the highest level of classification for Chablis wines, and it refers to the best vineyards in the region. There are seven Grand Cru vineyards, all located on the right bank of the Serein river, which runs through the region. The seven Grand Cru vineyards are Blanchot, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Preuses, Valmur, and Vaudésir. The wines from these vineyards are known for their complexity, minerality, and aging potential.


Chablis Premier Cru: This appellation refers to the vineyards that are one level below the Grand Cru vineyards. There are 40 Premier Cru vineyards in Chablis, located on both sides of the Serein river. The wines from these vineyards are known for their balance, elegance, and fruitiness.


Chablis: This is the basic appellation for Chablis wines. The vineyards are located on the outskirts of the Chablis region, and the wines are known for their freshness, acidity, and citrus flavors.


Petit Chablis: This appellation refers to the vineyards that are located outside the Chablis region, in the surrounding hills. The wines from these vineyards are less complex than those from the other appellations, but they are still refreshing and easy to drink.


In addition to these four main appellations, there are also several subregions within Chablis that are known for their specific terroir and style. These subregions include:


1. Montmains: This subregion is located on the left bank of the Serein river, and the wines from here are known for their full-bodied, fruity, and floral character.


2. Fourchaume: This subregion is located on the right bank of the Serein river, and the wines from here are known for their richness, complexity, and honeyed notes.


3. Vaulorent: This subregion is located between the Grand Cru vineyards of Les Preuses and Vaudésir, and the wines from here are known for their floral and fruity character.


Côte de Nuits: The Côte de Nuits is a small sub-region in Burgundy that produces some of the world's most famous Pinot Noir wines. It is roughly 20 kilometers long and is home to 14 grand crus and 24 premier cru vineyards. The region stretches from the town of Fixin in the north to the village of Nuits-Saint-Georges in the south, and includes the following sub-regions:he Cote de Nuit is made up of a series of subregions, each with their own distinct characteristics and terroir. These include:


Gevrey-Chambertin: Known for producing powerful and structured wines with dark fruit flavors, such as black cherry and blackberry. It is home to some of the most highly regarded Grand Cru vineyards in the region. This sub-region is home to some of the most renowned grand crus, including Chambertin and Clos de Beze. The wines produced here are bold and full-bodied, with a complex aroma and a long finish.


Chambolle-Musigny: Produces wines that are elegant, refined, and aromatic, with flavors of red fruit, violet, and spice. It is also home to some highly prized Grand Cru vineyards.


Vougeot: This subregion is home to the iconic Clos de Vougeot vineyard, one of the largest Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy. The wines produced here are full-bodied and complex, with flavors of black fruit and earth. This sub-region produces some of the most complex wines in the region. The vineyards in this region are divided into different terroirs, which give the wines a unique flavor and aroma.


Flagey-Echezeaux: This subregion produces wines that are known for their richness and depth, with flavors of dark fruit, licorice, and spice. It is home to several highly regarded Grand Cru vineyards.


Nuits-Saint-Georges: Known for producing powerful, tannic wines that require aging to fully develop. The wines from this subregion are characterized by flavors of dark fruit, leather, and spice.


Marsannay: Located in the north, this sub-region is known for its crisp and fruity wines. It produces both red and white wines, with Pinot Noir being the most popular.


Fixin: Located next to Marsannay, this sub-region is known for its bold and robust wines. The region is famous for its red wines, which are known for their tannins and complexity.


Morey-Saint-Denis: This sub-region produces elegant and refined wines that are known for their balance and complexity. The wines from this region are less robust than those from Gevrey-Chambertin but still maintain a full body.


Chambolle-Musigny: This sub-region is known for its delicate and feminine wines. The wines produced here are light in color and have a complex aroma of red fruits, spices, and flowers.


Vosne-Romanée: This sub-region is home to some of the most prestigious wines in the world, including the Romanée-Conti vineyard. The wines produced here are elegant and refined, with a rich aroma of spices, red fruits, and earthy notes.


Côte de Beaune: The Côte de Beaune is another sub-region of Burgundy that is known for its world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. This region is located in the eastern part of France's Burgundy region, and spans over 20 miles. It is a narrow strip of vineyards located on the eastern slopes of the Saone river valley, extending for about 25 kilometers from just south of Beaune to the village of Dezize-les-Maranges.


The Cote de Beaune is home to several subregions, each with its unique soil types, climate, and wine styles. Here are the main subregions of the Cote de Beaune:


Meursault: Known for its rich, oaked Chardonnay wines, Meursault is one of the most prestigious villages in the Cote de Beaune. The vineyards are situated on south-facing slopes, with soil rich in limestone and marl.


Puligny-Montrachet: This small village is known for producing some of the world's best Chardonnay wines. The soil here is rich in limestone, which gives the wine a unique minerality and acidity. The vineyards are also situated on south-facing slopes, providing ample sun exposure.


Chassagne-Montrachet: Another village known for its high-quality Chardonnay wines, Chassagne-Montrachet also produces some notable Pinot Noir wines. The soil here is a mix of limestone and clay, providing a unique balance of acidity and fruitiness.


Santenay: This southernmost village of the Cote de Beaune produces both red and white wines, with a focus on Pinot Noir. The vineyards here are situated on south-facing slopes, with soil rich in clay and limestone.


Aloxe-Corton: This village is the northernmost sub-regions of the Côte de Beaune is known for producing some of the finest red wines in the Côte de Beaune, made from Pinot Noir grapes. The soil here is rich in limestone, which gives the wine a unique minerality and complexity. The reds are characterized by their deep color, firm tannins, cherry, blackberry, and earthy flavors. The white wines are known for their crisp acidity and citrus, green apple, and mineral notes.


Pommard: This village produces some of the most robust and full-bodied Pinot Noir wines in the Cote de Beaune. The soil here is rich in iron, which gives the wine a unique earthiness and tannin structure.


Pernand-Vergelesses: This village produces both red and white wines. The reds are similar to those of Aloxe-Corton but tend to be lighter and fruitier. The whites are noted for their fresh acidity, lemon, and apple flavors, and a mineral finish.


Ladoix-Serrigny: In this region, red wines are dominant. The wines from this area are known for their intense fruit flavors, soft tannins, and a light to medium body.


Savigny-les-Beaune: This region produces both red and white wines. The red wines have bright fruit flavors, firm tannins, and a medium to full body. The white wines are fresh and light with a lively acidity and flavors of lemon and green apple.


Beaune: This sub-region is the central hub of the Cote de Beaune, and it produces both red and white wines. The red wines are fruity and medium-bodied, with aromas of red berries and spices. The white wines are lively and fruity, with notes of citrus and exotic fruits.


Chassagne-Montrachet: This sub-region is home to some of the most expensive and highly-regarded white wines in the world. The wines are rich, creamy, and full-bodied, with a balance of fruit and mineral flavors.


Côte Chalonnaise: The Côte Chalonnaise is a lesser-known sub-region of Burgundy that is located south of the Côte de Beaune. The wines from this region tend to be more affordable than those from the other sub-regions, but they are still of high quality. The sub-region is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as its sparkling wines.


Mercurey: This is the largest and most diverse appellation in the Côte Chalonnaise. It is known for producing rich, powerful red wines with a deep ruby color and aromas of black fruit, spices, and earth. The wines are often aged in oak barrels, which impart a smoky, vanilla flavor to the wine.


Givry: This region is located to the south of Mercurey. Givry is known for producing elegant, refined red wines that are less full-bodied than those of Mercurey. The wines are often described as having floral and red fruit aromas with a subtle earthy undertone.


Rully: This region is located to the north of Mercurey. Rully is known for producing both red and white wines of exceptional quality. The red wines are medium-bodied and often described as having aromas of red fruit, spices, and earth. The white wines are fresh and lively with notes of citrus and minerality.


Montagny: This is the most southerly subregion of the Côte Chalonnaise. Montagny is known for producing crisp, minerally white wines with a bright acidity and notes of citrus and green apple.


Mâconnais: The Mâconnais is the southernmost sub-region of Burgundy and is known for its fruity and approachable white wines made from the Chardonnay grape. The wines from this region tend to be more affordable than those from the other sub-regions, but they are still of high quality. Some of the best-known villages in this region include Pouilly-Fuissé, Saint-Véran, and Viré-Clessé.


Pouilly-Fuissé: This is the most well-known subregion of the Mâconnais, famous for its rich, full-bodied white wines. The vineyards are planted on steep slopes, with limestone and clay soils.


Saint-Véran: This subregion is located to the north of Pouilly-Fuissé, and produces crisp, refreshing white wines with notes of citrus and green apple. The vineyards are situated on rolling hills, with limestone and clay soils.


Viré-Clessé: This subregion is located to the south of Pouilly-Fuissé, and produces white wines with a balance of fruit and acidity. The vineyards are planted on hillsides, with limestone and clay soils.


Mâcon: This subregion is the largest in the Mâconnais, and produces a variety of white, red, and rosé wines. The vineyards are situated on flat or gently rolling terrain, with a mix of limestone, clay, and sand soils.


VARIETALS

Pinot Noir: This is the most widely planted red grape variety in Burgundy. The wines made from this grape are known for their complexity, finesse, and elegance. The Pinot Noir grape is known for its thin skin, which makes it sensitive to climatic variations. It is primarily grown in the Cote d'Or region, which is further divided into the Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune subregions.


Chardonnay: This is the most widely planted white grape variety in Burgundy. The wines made from this grape are known for their minerality, acidity, and complexity. The Chardonnay grape is sensitive to terroir, which means that the wine reflects the soil and climate where it is grown. It is primarily grown in the Chablis, Cote de Beaune, and Maconnais subregions.


Gamay: This is a red grape variety that is also grown in Burgundy, but in smaller quantities. The wines made from this grape are lighter in style and are typically less expensive than those made from Pinot Noir.


Aligote: This is a white grape variety that is also grown in Burgundy, but in smaller quantities. The wines made from this grape are typically crisp and acidic, with notes of citrus and green apple.


AGING REQUIREMENTS

The aging requirements of Burgundy wines vary depending on the style of wine and the sub-region.


For example, Burgundy red wines from the Cote d'Or, such as Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, and Vosne-Romanee, require at least 5 to 10 years of aging to reach their full potential. These wines are known for their earthy, fruity, and floral notes, and they develop more complexity and depth with age.


Burgundy white wines from the Cote d'Or, such as Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, and Chassagne-Montrachet, also need time to age to develop their full flavor and aroma. These wines require at least 3 to 5 years of aging and can age for up to 15 years. These wines are known for their rich, creamy, and buttery flavors, and they develop more complexity and depth with age.


Burgundy wines from the Cote Chalonnaise and Maconnais sub-regions, such as Givry, Rully, and Pouilly-Fuisse, are generally less expensive than those from the Cote d'Or and require less aging. These wines are best consumed within 3 to 5 years of the vintage date.


QUALITY LEVELS

The quality of Burgundy wine is determined by several factors, including the grape variety used, the terroir or the specific geographic location where the grapes are grown, and the winemaking techniques used.


The quality levels of Burgundy wine are categorized based on the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system, which is a French certification that guarantees the origin and quality of a product. The AOC system in Burgundy is quite complex, and there are many appellations with their own specific rules and regulations. However, the quality levels of Burgundy wine can generally be grouped into four main categories:


Regional: These wines are made from grapes grown in the wider Burgundy region and are typically considered entry-level wines. The quality of regional appellations can vary, but they are generally considered to be a good value for money.


Village: These wines are made from grapes grown in specific villages in Burgundy and are often considered to be of higher quality than regional appellations. They are usually more expensive but still offer good value for money.


Premier Cru: These wines are made from grapes grown in specific vineyards within the village appellations and are considered to be of even higher quality. They are often more expensive than village appellations but offer exceptional quality and complexity.


Grand Cru: These wines are made from grapes grown in the most prestigious vineyards in Burgundy and are considered to be among the finest wines in the world. They are very expensive and are usually only produced in small quantities.


TERROIR


Côte de Nuit

Climate: Cote de Nuit enjoys a semi-continental climate, which means it experiences cold winters and hot summers. The region is located in the rain shadow of the Vosges Mountains, which protects it from excessive rainfall. The cool temperatures during the growing season and the significant diurnal temperature variation contribute to the grapes' acidity and flavor.


Soil: The soil of Cote de Nuit is predominantly limestone, with a high concentration of calcium carbonate. The limestone content makes the soil alkaline and helps to regulate the acidity of the grapes. The soil's composition also contributes to the wine's minerality and complexity, giving it a distinct flavor profile.


Topography: Cote de Nuit is a narrow strip of land that runs for approximately 20 miles from Dijon to Nuits-Saint-Georges. The region is characterized by steep slopes that face east and southeast, providing excellent exposure to the sun. The slopes range in altitude from 820 to 1,310 feet, with some vineyards reaching as high as 1,475 feet. The topography of the region helps to regulate the vines' water supply and provides optimal drainage.


Côte de Beaune

Climate: Côte de Beaune has a semi-continental climate with cold winters and warm summers, moderated by the nearby Saône River. The region experiences some rainfall throughout the year, with the most precipitation occurring in the spring and autumn. The climate is generally conducive to grape growing, with warm and sunny days during the growing season, which allows for the grapes to ripen fully.


Soil: The soil in Côte de Beaune is diverse, with a mixture of limestone, marl, clay, and sandstone. The soil in the southern part of the region is generally more limestone-based, while the northern part has more clay and sandstone. This soil composition helps to create the distinctive mineral flavors that are characteristic of Côte de Beaune wines.


Topography: Côte de Beaune is located on the eastern slopes of the Côte d'Or, a chain of hills that extends south from Dijon. The vineyards are situated on steep slopes, which provide excellent drainage and exposure to the sun. The altitude of the vineyards varies from 200 to 400 meters, and the slopes face east or southeast, allowing for maximum exposure to the morning sun.


Cote Challonaise

Climate: The Cote Challonaise wine region experiences a semi-continental climate, which is influenced by the nearby Saône River. The summers are warm and sunny, and the winters are cold with frost and occasional snowfall. The region receives a moderate amount of rainfall throughout the year, which helps to nourish the vines. The climate is generally favorable for grape growing, although unpredictable weather patterns can sometimes present challenges.


Soil: The soil in the Cote Challonaise is primarily composed of limestone and clay, with some areas having a higher proportion of marl. The limestone soil in the region is particularly rich in fossils, which can lend a unique mineral character to the wines. The soil is well-draining and allows the vines to develop deep root systems, which can help to produce complex and nuanced wines.


Topography: The Cote Challonaise wine region is located in the southern part of the Cote d'Or, and is characterized by gentle hills and valleys. The slopes are generally less steep than those found further north in the Cote d'Or, which makes it easier to cultivate the vineyards. The vineyards are situated at altitudes ranging from 220 to 400 meters above sea level, which can influence the ripening of the grapes and the overall character of the wines.


Mâconais

Climate: The climate in Mâconnais is continental, with cold winters and warm summers. The region has a semi-continental climate due to its location at the foot of the Massif Central. The summers are hot and sunny, while the winters are cold and frosty. The region is also known for its strong winds, which help to dry the grapes and prevent fungal diseases.


Soil: The soil in Mâconnais is primarily made up of limestone, clay, and marl. The region is also known for its unique terroir, which is characterized by a layer of limestone rock known as "La Roche de Solutré." This limestone rock is a crucial component of the soil in Mâconnais and is responsible for the region's distinct mineral and flinty flavors in its wines.


Topography: The topography of Mâconnais is characterized by rolling hills and valleys. The region is situated on the western slopes of the Saône River valley, which provides excellent drainage for the vineyards. The altitude of the vineyards ranges from 200 to 400 meters above sea level. The hills in Mâconnais provide excellent exposure to sunlight and help to regulate temperature and protect the vines from frost.

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page