The Down and Dirty on Burgundy

Everything you need to know about this red wonder

 


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Juice Production

Despite all these climats, there’s not much Burgundian juice. Burgundy only counts for about 3 percent of French vin. Within the quality rankings listed above, here’s how Burgundy’s production falls out:

Grand Crus = 1.4%
Premier Crus = 10.1% (even with all those climats!)
Village = 36.8%
Regional = 51.7%

This is why Grand Cru and Premier Cru level Burgundies usually drain the coins from your pocket! With that exclamation, it seems to go without saying that Grand Cru sits at the top of the totem pole of quality with Premier Cru a notch below and so on down the list. The trick is that within these quality bands, there are Grand Crus that might be no better than top Premier Crus and very good village wines that might taste like they should be Premier Crus. So, there is a little wiggle room, but this happens mostly with just a handful of wines.

Here’s the skinny on lieux-dits. A lieu-dit is a particular plot of land within an appellation that possesses special characteristics that contribute a distinct element of terroir, separating it from neighboring rows of vines. Lieux-dits are not technically an appellation, but they are listed on the label with the name of the Premier Cru so it’s clear it’s not just any old Premier Cru!

 

Photo courtesy of net_efekt via Flickr/cc
 

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Comments

  • Snooth User: JonDerry
    Hand of Snooth
    680446 3,131

    Nice article Greg, my palate continues to appreciate Burgs more and more.

    Jun 07, 2012 at 9:10 PM


  • Snooth User: Christy Canterbury MW
    Hand of Snooth
    1060100 66,549

    Hi,

    Glad you liked my piece. What is it about Burgundy that's luring you over?

    Cheers,
    Christy Canterbury MW

    Jun 07, 2012 at 11:05 PM


  • Snooth User: SM
    1097030 218

    Thanks for the article Ms. Canterbury it was well written and informative. I find myself drinking more and more Bourgogne wine these days. The balance, elegance and fruit of the wine from there is outstanding. An interesting book that I just finished reading is: "Burgundy and Bordeaux, a vintage rivalry",(I will try to post the author's name later.) It's all about the history and development of these world famous and key wine regions. If you are interested in Bourgogne (Burgundy) I would recommend you read this book as its fascinating. Cheers!

    Jun 08, 2012 at 12:09 AM


  • Snooth User: JonDerry
    Hand of Snooth
    680446 3,131

    Christy, I apologize, assumed it was Greg who wrote this!

    I'm finding Burgundy wines more friendly on the alcohol side, almost always good acids, and plenty of the soil comes out in the wines. It's like a comfortable pair of shoes with plenty of intrigue.

    Jun 08, 2012 at 2:28 AM


  • Snooth User: Oude Singel 160
    Hand of Snooth
    1048383 24

    Up to my opinion this either Blackberry or Beaujolais, but certainly not a vineyard inside Côte d'Or!

    Jun 08, 2012 at 5:24 AM


  • Can you clarify the lieux-dit? Above it sounds as if it IS a 1er cru, whereas I thought it was a recognized vineyard but without an official 1er status?

    Jun 08, 2012 at 8:30 AM


  • Snooth User: Christy Canterbury MW
    Hand of Snooth
    1060100 66,549

    Hi Boymeetsvine,

    A lieu-dit is nothing more than a recognized vineyard, as you say. You can find lieu-dits at village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru level. For example, consider Meursault Meix Chavaux at the village level and Corton Les Renardes at the Grand Cru level.

    Jun 08, 2012 at 10:05 AM


  • Snooth User: duncan 906
    Hand of Snooth
    425274 1,677

    Interesting articles.I am definitely a Burgundy lover and have reviewed several for Snooth although I have never had a Grand Cru and only once a Premier Cru.Most of the ones I have been able to afford have been negociant wines.Burgundy has got to be one of the world's best,if not the best,wine producing region.Interestingly,when President Obama stayed at Buckingham Palace last year,Her Majesty served Grand Cru Burgundies at the official State Banquet

    Jun 10, 2012 at 1:28 PM


  • Snooth User: Christy Canterbury MW
    Hand of Snooth
    1060100 66,549

    Hi Duncan906,

    Keep an eye out for my next post...it will be on lesser-known appellations. The reason for this upcoming post is to point out easier-on-the-wallet wines!

    Cheers!

    Jun 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM


  • Snooth User: duncan 906
    Hand of Snooth
    425274 1,677

    Burgundy does tend to be an expensive appellation or appellations unless you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.The only one that is usually easier on the wallet is Passetoutgrains and that is a pinot noir/gamay blend.I look forward to your next article as I have probably had many of your lesser known easier on the wallet appellations

    Jun 13, 2012 at 6:21 PM


  • Snooth User: Christy Canterbury MW
    Hand of Snooth
    1060100 66,549

    Passetoutgrains definitely can pass the eco test...thanks for staying tuned!

    Jun 14, 2012 at 3:42 AM


  • I continue to be fascinated by Burgundy, even as I am buying and enjoying more Oregon and New Zealand Pinot noirs, which can be much easier on the wallet. I find that some reputable Burgundies, mostly Bourgognes, are unfortunately "lean and mean" to my palate. Hopefully, the 2009's will be more to my liking. Keep up the good articles! Bob Williams

    Jun 16, 2012 at 6:33 PM


  • I have some moderately priced 2005 Burgundies in my cellar. Can you give me an idea when I should start drinking these? Thanks!

    Jun 16, 2012 at 6:36 PM


  • Snooth User: Christy Canterbury MW
    Hand of Snooth
    1060100 66,549

    Hi RCWilliams-3,

    I love Oregon and NZ Pinots. They can bear many resemblances to Burgundy - they are often (though not always) svelte and have a love earthiness.

    2005 is a wonderful vintage. You can drink them depending on how old or young you prefer your wines. A lot of Premier Cru 2005 will be 20-30+ year wines. If it's village level, they're still 10+ year wines...but they don't have to be! You can always pull a bottle here and there to see how they're evolving.

    Jun 17, 2012 at 2:58 AM


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