Description 1 of 2


Burgundy is perhaps the most complex and intimidating of French wine regions. It is located in eastern France and stretches from Chablis and Auxerre in the north all the way down to Beaujolais (to be treated separately) in the south. Its climate is continental -- cold winters and hot summers, as well as frequent rain and hail near harvest. The first to begin to recognize and codify the differences between vineyards were the Cistercian monks. They helped give us our notion of terroir. Most of the vineyards belonged to the church and nobility until the French Revolution, when they were redistributed and often split between several proprietors. They were further fragmented because of the inheritance law in the Napoleonic Code, which decreed that vineyards must be split equally among one’s heirs. Thus, today, one can buy several wines from a single vineyard, each from a different producer.

One major aspect of Burgundy’s fascination is that it has few major grape varieties and is rarely a blend. Since everyone is working with the same varieties, it brings the terroir into even more stark relief. The grape varieties that make up virtually all of the best wines in Burgundy are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Gamay, the major grape of Beaujolais, is also not uncommon. Other varieties include Aligote, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Blanc.

If one begins in northern Burgundy, one will encounter Chablis. Much of the soil in Chablis is comprised of Kimmeridgian clay, which gives the wines their distinctive minerality. Located near Chablis are several other appellations. Among them, Saint-Bris has the distinction of being the only place in Burgundy where Sauvignon Blanc is planted.

Further south is the Cote d’Or. The most important wines in Burgundy come from this narrow strip of land. Because it is located on a fault line, it has incredible geologic variety, making for many distinctive terroirs. The Cote d’Or has two major halves. The Cote de Nuits is where the greatest reds come from. The Cote de Beaune is the home of the best whites.

South of that are the Cote Chalonnaise and the Maconnais. The Cote Chalonnaise has excellent reds and whites, while the Maconnais is known for its white wines.
– Description from juliabutareva

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Description 2 of 2

Burgundy is one of the world grandest wine producing regions. While it is made up of a variety of terroirs, it almost uniquely in the world of wine, relies on but a handful of grape varieties. For red Burgundy there is no doubt that Pinot Noir reigns supreme. In fact this home of Pinot Noir continues to be the benchmark against which Pinot is judged. In Beaujolais, an oft maligned sub-region of Burgundy, Gamay stars, and makes great wines. Hindered by its Nouveau reputation, Beaujolais has recent carved great inroads into the world market as savvy consumers begin to recognize how fine the wines can be. On the white side of the coin, virtually all of Burgundy is based on Chardonnay, with a smattering of Aligote thrown in for good measure. Between the minerally style of Chablis and the flamboyant richness of the finest, aged Grand Crus - White Burgundy is all about showcasing the many faces of Chardonnay. – Description from Gregory Dal Piaz

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