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Grapes & Wine of the BURGUNDY Region of France

burgundy vineyard


The Burgundy wine region begins a hundred kilometres south from Paris and stretches on 360 kilometres down to Lyon. It is a patchwork of tiny vineyards in villages strung along a narrow valley and divided in numerous districts: Chablis, Côte d'Or (divided in Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune), Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais and Beaujolais. So let's go and discover more about the grapes and wines of Bordeaux.

Terrior is most important in Burgundy with immense attention is paid to the area of origin, and in which of the region's 400 types of soil are wine's grapes are grown. However in regional term the soil is largely old limestone from various period with some marlstone apart from Beaujolais where the soil is acidic and sandy, lying over granite rock. Burgundy has a continental climate characterized by very cold winters and hot summers. The weather is very unpredictable with rains, hail, and frost all possible around harvest time. Because of this climate, there is a lot of variation between vintages from Burgundy. Most vineyards lie on slopes facing east or south-east for better ripening.

Burgundy has a huge and deserved reputation for quality red wines with the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world, however production is 65% dry white wine, mainly from Chardonnay, and 35% dry red wine from Pinot Noir.

Terrior is most important in Burgundy with immense attention is paid to the area of origin, and in which of the region's 400 types of soil are wine's grapes are grown. The region is made up of tiny villages surrounded by a combination of flat and sloped vineyards. The best wines - "Grand Cru" - from this region are usually grown from the middle and higher part of the slopes, where the vineyards have the most exposure to sunshine and the best drainage, while the "Premier Cru" come from a little less favourably exposed slopes. The relatively ordinary "Village" wines are produced from the flat territory nearer the villages.
The main Burgundy classifications, in asending order of quality, are:
AOC Bourgogne classification refers to wines that can be sourced or blended from anywhere in the Burgundy region. These wines make up 50% of production.
Village wines can be a blend of wines from supposedly lesser vineyard sites within the boundaries of an individual village, or from one individual but non-classified vineyard. Village wines make up 36% of production.
Premier Cru wines are produced from specific vineyard sites that are still considered to be of high quality, but not as well regarded as the Grand Cru sites. Premier Cru wines make up 12% of production.
Grand Cru refers to wines produced from the small number of the best vineyard sites in the Cote d'Or. Grand Cru wines make up 2% of the production.

Bordeaux region chart

Principal BURGUNDY Grape Varieties

Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir
A grape that when grown in the right terrior and careful winemaking produces a wine of great character with good structure, sound aging ability and aromas of cherry and blackcurrant.
The grape of Beaujolais where on the granite soils where it can assumes character and dimensions of a quality red wine. Benefits from oak-cask aging.
The white grape of Burgundy producing often well-structured elegant wines with aromatic complexity, strength, firmness and mellowness.
Used mainly to produce Bourgogne Aligoté, a dry white wine that requires little or no aging. Largely grown in the south of Burgundy.

BURGUNDY Wine sub-regions

The Côte d'Or, where Burgundy's most famous and most expensive wines are found, is split into two parts:

Côte de Nuits: Villages: Marsannay, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Flagey-Echézeaux, Vosne-Romaneé, Nuits-St-Georges

The most famous of all the Burgundy regions, The Côte de Nuits starts just south of Dijon and extends to a few kilometres south of the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges. In this region red wine accounting for over 85% of production. The great Côte de Nuits reds are reputed for their ageing qualities, their structure and their powerful flavor. They make a perfect companion for game or mature cheese.

Côte de Nuits

Côte de Nuits: wine
Côte de Beaune:Villages:Pernand-Vergelesses, Aloxe-Corton, Beaune, Savigny-les-Beaune, Chorey-les-Beaune, Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, St-Romain, St-Aubin, Santenay and Auxey-Duresses

The region produces 55% red wine with quality in both reds, that are well fruited, tasty, sometimes quite elegant affairs, if not a little lighter than their northern neighbour. The whites tend to be rich, intense, buttery chardonnays with good structure.
Côte de Beaune

Côte de Beaune wine
Côte Chalonnaise: Villages: Côte Chalonnaise, Rully, Mercurey, Givry and Montagny, Bouzeron, Givry, Buxy

The region lies south of the Côte de Beaune, and to the south again is the Mâconnais. Production spread roughly equally between red wines (55%) and whites including Crémant. We have found this to be an area for respectable Chardonnays and tasty Pinot Noirs at a fraction of the prices claimed for wines further north. Taste around and you will also find acceptable Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise and Bourgogne Rouge and Blanc at bargain prices.
Côte Chalonnaise

Côte Chalonnaise wine
Mâconnais: Villages: Viré, Clessé , Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Vinzelles and Pouilly-Loché

The Mâconnais lies south of the Côte Chalonnaise, north of Beaujolais, and is the most southerly region in Burgundy where the classic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are to be found. Here you will find some of the best value Chardonnay in Burgundy. Appellation wines from Pouilly-Fuissé have a international reputation for quality.

Beaujolais: Villages: St. Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-a-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Regnié, Morgon, Brouilly, and Cote de Brouilly

The Beaujolais region lies between the Mâconnais to the north, and to the south the city of Lyon, with the Rhône valley beyond. It is an intensely pretty region, with rolling hills gently sloping down to the Saône valley. The soil is mainly granitic, more so in the north, and also quite poor. The wines are mainly red, made from the Gamay grape, really comes into its own on the granitic soils here. The wines from the Beaujolais region can be classified in three groups:
Beaujolais: a light red wine from the southern part of Beaujolais. Wide range of styles from light to fruity. Not to be confused with Beaujolais Nouveau, the November released new wine.
Beaujolais Villages: from the northern Beaujolais a wine with more body and structure and once again a lot of different styles.
Beaujolais Crus: from the 10 cru status villages, each wine has its own distinctive character and style with the ability to improve with aging.
Beaujolais vineyard

Beaujolais wine


Name:Appellation Controlée - 99 wine appellations!

Location:In the south west of France, near the Atlantic coast, around the city of Bordeaux

Vineyards:5,200 wine growers 85% of the vineyards are smaller than 10 hectares (25 acres)

Places: 9,000 wineries

Size of the vineyards:25,000 hectares (60,000 acres)

Production volume:180 million bottles 65% dry white wine - 35% red wine

Soil: Various: Limestone, Clayey-limestone and marl

Weather:Continental with cold winter and warm summer

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