|There are no shortcuts to understanding the famous wine region Burgundy, called Bourgogne in French. If you want to become a Burgundy expert, get ready to memorize a 1,000 names, take a course in French pronunciation and expect to get lost in a maze of appellations (officially delineated wine zones). In addition, prepare yourself to part with a good chunk of change — Burgundy wines are not exactly cheap. It’s like buying designer wine: you pay for the name. And the smaller the appellation within Burgundy, the rarer the wine and the higher the cost. Not to worry, however. We’ll try to sketch a rough roadmap through the abundance of Burgundian districts, villages and vineyards.
More than any other wine in the world, Burgundian wine is the product of terroir and fruit and is truly “the voice of the land.”
For thousands of years patient monks and eager landowners farmed and nurtured every scrap of the 185-mile stretch of land in East-Central France known as Burgundy. They discovered that the most subtle differences in terroir found translation in grape and wine. And so, eventually, it became necessary to assign separate names to all these tiny plots. Arcane inheritance and estate laws created a worse mess, further subdividing the already tine appellations. Thus Burgundy counts nearly 120 appellations — some estates as small as a 2.1 acres! There are rumors that Burgundian farmers, after heavy rain, hike down the hills, shuffles in hand, to recapture some of their precious, fugitive soil!
MAIN GROWING REGIONS
|1 General Appellation — Bourgogne blanc or rouges (wine made anywhere in Burgundy)2 Regional Appellation — Chablis, Côtes de Nuits, Côtes de Beaune, Côtes Chalonnaise, Mâconnais, Beaujolais
3 Regional Appellation + the word Villages — denotes grapes come from one or more designated villages — Beaujolais Villages, Macon Villages, Côtes de Nuits Villages, etc.
4 Village Appellation — which may contain the name of a famous specific vineyard — Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent, Pouilly-Fuissé, Pommard, Puligny- or Chassagne Montrachet, Chambolle-Musigny, etc.
5 Premier Cru Appellation — a vineyard with officially recognized status that must also include the Village Appellation — Puligny Montrachet Referts, Meursault les Genevrieres, Beaune Clos des Mouches, etc.
6 Grand Cru Appellation — a vineyard with officially recognized status that only need use the name of the vineyard — Montrachet, Romanee-Conti, Musigny, Corton, etc.
Appellation information supplied by Tim Hanni, M.W.
|A closer look at the six main regions.CHABLIS: Chablis produces only white wines. Some of the finest chardonnays in the world come from well over 250 different growers there. There are seven Grand Cru appellation-vineyards: Les Clos, Vaudésir, Valmur, Bougros, Blanchot, Preuses and Grenouilles. All other wines fall under the regional Chablis appellation.
COTE DE NUITS & COTE DE BEAUNE: South of Dijon lies the Côte d’Or, where eight villages in Côte de Nuits and 20 villages in Côte de Beaune produce the paragon of Burgundian wines. With a mere 30 miles of golden hills, the Côte d’Or is home to 56 Grand Cru appellations and hundreds of Premier Cru vineyards and growers.
GRAND CRUS AND THE WINES THEY PRODUCE
Côte de Nuits