The Burgundy wine region, otherwise known as Bourgogne, and its one hundred appellations, craft top quality wines for an insatiable, discerning global market. As awareness of Burgundy’s outstanding attributes and history grows, it is an increasing challenge to source these wines directly from Domaines at reasonable prices.
Regionality of Burgundy
The region lies in East-Central France between the regions of Auxerre and Macon. It is a long and narrow band of predominantly 33,000 hectares of vineyard, divided into five sub-regions: Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Côte Maconnaise.
Around 1000 AD, the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Cluny discovered the world of complexity that lay below the surface of Burgundy. They realised that plots of earth– sometimes only meters apart– were creating completely different wines despite their proximity. These plots of individual vineyard became known as ‘Climats’, and Burgundian land became famed for the dramatic, mosaic-like variation it has between them.
Burgundy Climate & Soil Composition
This exceptional diversity is attributed to the region’s prehistoric geology and seismic past. 250 million years ago, Burgundy was a tropical lagoon with a sea bed vibrant with Triassic flora and fauna. Eons passed and the climate changed, but it took the seismic creation of the French Alps 30 million years ago to ice the cake; the dramatic reshaping of the landscape resurfaced the former seabed, creating an ideal elevation and a varied sub-soil rich with marine marl and limestone.
Burgundy is at a unique confluence of three weather systems which combine to ripen grapes perfectly. Plots are planted on slopes at 200 to 500 meters above sea level, exposing vines to ideal sunshine, breezes and excellent drainage.
Burgundy mainly produces white wine from Chardonnay grapes and red wine from Pinot Noir. Within the region, the Côte Maconnaise and Chablis produce mainly whites, and the Côte de Nuits produces mostly reds. The Côte Chalonnaise and the Côte de Beaune produce both.
Burgundian wines are classified into four tiers. They are: regional appellations, village appellations, Premiers Crus and finally, the crème de la crème, Grand Crus. The Grand Crus represents only 1.4% of the total production.