The Burgundy vineyards account for 29,000 hectares of cultivated land from Dijon to Lyon. White wines accounting for 60% of production, reds and rosés 32%, and crémants 8%. All for 50% of exports, which in turn made the wine region of France which has the highest export percentage (especially USA and UK) . The variety of wine that Burgundy can produce is a strong point, until 1420 (all appellations, denominations and colors combined) .
For Burgundy, there is no question of talking about a château. Here, we find “domaine” and “clos”, themselves separated between several winemakers (it’s a choice, strange, but a choice). Domains are usually quite small.
We can find “climates”. A climate is simply a defined plot with its own characteristics (exhibition, soil ..), defining a wine. Except we find about 1400! Therefore, I let you imagine a precise map of the vineyards of Burgundy, a real bazaar.
The appellation system of the Burgundy vineyard is divided from the least qualitative to the most qualitative in the appellation:
- Premier cru
- Grand Cru
A winemaker must comply with specifications to be able to claim a name. The more the name is prestigious, the more the specifications is restrictive (eg no pesticide, a mandatory distance between each vine plan, ect … ). In addition, it is logical to respect a specific geographical area, and again, the more the name is prestigious, the more the area is restricted.
To better understand the appellations, you will find for those interested names of appellations after “what you must remember”
Price range :
Generally, Burgundy wines are reputed to be quite expensive. In recent years, prices have exploded, often exceeding the price of competitors Bordeaux. Crémants, wines of the Mâconnais and Côte Chalonnaise are reputed to be those which remain at the best quality / price ratio. If you want to stay in the wines less than 15 €, it will be necessary to restrict you to take a regional AOC, because on average, the communal AOC (village) are at 50 €, the first vintage 80 € and the grand cru more than 100 €. Nevertheless, it should be easy for you to find bottles of burgundy. Due to the reputation, you can find these wines all around the world
Vines and wines:
The grape varieties massively planted on the Burgundy vineyard are:
Pinot noir (red): Great representative of Burgundy, it is used almost alone to make wines. Used all over the world, it is especially here that the most famous wines are designed. This varietal offers wines dominated by fruit, sumptuous and velvety, and delivers aromas of leather and truffle as they age.
Gamay (red): Another variety of the region, it is much less used than Pinot Noir. However, it is the almost obligatory grape variety of Beaujolais! Which gives it, for many, a bad reputation (but do not worry, the wines can be very very good). It is a grape very fruity and easy to drink.
Chardonnay (white): Representing almost 50% of the grape variety of Burgundy, it is for many who produces the best dry white in the world. Its aromas vary according to the region in which it is grown. In Burgundy, we will have aromas of lemon, acacia or even mineral.
Aligoté (white): This grape produces wines especially known for the design of Kir (and yes, do not put any white wine to make kir). Moreover, it offers light wines, to be consumed young, more often focused on white-fleshed fruits.
3 anecdotes for the meals:
- The most prestigious “climates” are surrounded by a small stone wall, except that many other “climates” surround them. We can therefore find prestigious vineyards producing wines worth several thousand euros, cross the road and find “standard” vines producing wines at lower prices.
- Today, Burgundy enjoys a very good reputation. Elegance and prestige are the first words that come in mind of a wine lover of Burgundy. However, this has not always been the case. In the years 70 – 80, the practices in force made that the wines of this period are practically all undrinkable.
- In the top 50 most expensive wines in the world, 40 are Burgundy wines. And afterwards, it is said that it is the wines of Bordeaux that are expensive.
What you must remember :
Burgundy is mostly white wines with exceptional dry white wines to age or drink young for some appellations. Moreover, we must understand the concept of “Climate” which is very important in Burgundy.
Since the 90s, a new generation of winemakers, better trained, rigorous and talented have built the new reputation of Burgundy, which today is internationally recognized. The world’s most expensive wines are produced there, and getting the best wines is increasingly difficult.
Due to the variety of wine offered in the region, you will always find a Burgundy wine to accompany your dishes.
The history of Burgundy is titanic. It lived through the ages and now enjoys a well-built and well-deserved reputation. In spite of generally high prices, you will inevitably find wines that suit you. Again, do not hesitate to test the unknown names to develop your references, because, everywhere, lots of excellent wines await you.
Some names on the appellations:
50% of production including 9 PDO which are
- Six generic regional appellations:
- Bourgogne (14 vineyards are entitled to a geographical name)
- Coteaux bourguignons
- Bourgogne aligoté
- Bourgogne Mousseux
- Crémant de Bourgogne
- Three more restrictive regional appellations often referred to as “sub” regional:
- Côte-de-Nuits village
- Côte-de-Beaune Village
The villages appellations:
38% of production with about 44 municipal appellations. This is the name of the town which serves as denomination to the appellation. We have :
- The inter-communal appellations, which bear the name of the most famous commune and often include from 2 to 5 communes.
- The communal appellations, which bear the name of the single commune which composes the PDO
The premier crus :
10% of the production is not AOC as such but obliges the winemaker to more restrictive practices. It is therefore a complementary mention but not mandatory on the label. There are thus about 600 “premier cru” within the communal PDO, in specific “climates”.
The appellations grands crus PDO :
Less than 2% of production, 34 “grands crus”, in Côte-d’Or and Chablis. For the name, the climate of the vineyard is so famous that the name of the town is useless.
The communes often add the name of a grand cru to their name (Romanée conti, Gevrey-Chambertin, Vosne-Romanée ..).
If ever the vineyard of Burgundy really interests you, I highly recommend you the site of the BIVB (Interprofessional Office of the Wines of Burgundy) which is really very complete:
Moreover I thank you to has read my article !