Burgundy is a large and renowned wine region on the eastern side of France which extends from Chablis to the north, down to Maconnais in the south. The staple red grape is Pinot Noir and for white wines, Chardonnay, although this is virtually never appears on the label. Aligoté is sometimes used for white wines but this must be declared, and there is some Sauvignon grown in Chablis. There is a strong negociant (merchant) system in place and often their name on the bottle is a badge of trust and honour, but many wines are sold under the growers own label. Burgundy has a multitude of small, sometimes exquisite estates, and knowing who is who can be crucial. View our selection
Chablis is the northest area and has the coolest climate of Burgundy. It counts four appellations: Petit Chablis lies on Portlandian soil creating wines fruitier than Chablis. This last one lies on Kimmeridgian soils which contains greater levels of rich clay with high lime content and produces mineral wines, almost flinty. Chablis 1er Cru is divided in 40 ‘climats’, or vineyard sites, including Les Vaillons and Fourchaume. The best appellation is Chablis Grand Cru, spreading over 100ha of vines and divided in 7 climats; Bougros, Grenouille, Les Preuses, Les Clos, Blanchots, Valmur and Vaudesir.
Côtes de Nuits and Côtes de Beaune
At Burgundy’s heart is the Côtes d’Or, including Côtes de Nuits and the Côtes de Beaune, which produces some of the finest and most eagerly sought after wines in the world. The appellations of the Côtes d’Or are divided into basic Bourgogne Rouge or Blanc, wines with a simple village A/C (Puligny Montrachet for example) and then 1er Crus and Grand Crus which carry the vineyard name also.
The main villages in the Côtes de Nuits are Fixin, Gevrey Chambertin, Morey St Denis, Chambolle Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne Romanée and Nuits St Georges. Mainly reds are produced here but there are a few exceptions with Morey St Denis producing some white wines.
The Côtes de Beaune counts the villages of Savigny, Aloxe Corton, Pernand Vergelesses, Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny, Chassagne Montrachet, Auxey Duresses, St Aubin and Santenay. Both red and white wines are made here except for Pommard and Volnay producing red wines only.
Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais
South to the Côtes d’Or lies the Chalonnais, including the villages of Maranges, Bouzeron, Rully, Mercurey, Givry and Montagny, and finally the Mâconnais, with the warmest climate in Burgundy producing mainly fruity white wines. The main AOC are Pouilly Fuisse, Saint Veran, Pouilly Vinzelles and Macon. All are significant sources of good white and red Burgundy. View our selection of Chalonnais and Maconnais.
A large viticultural area south of Burgundy (arguably included in it) famous for its floral, aromatic, fragrant red wines. The region is broken into two parts, the granitic hills of the north where the ‘Cru’ villages are to be found, and the flatter area south of Villefranche where the soil is richer and production higher. The red grape in both regions is invariably Gamay. Under the appellation rules, Beaujolais is classified as Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, or as one of the the top ranked Beaujolais Crus, which carries the village name. These villages are: Brouilly, Côtes de Brouilly, St Amour, Fleurie, Chenas, Régnié, Chiroubles, Morgon, Julienas, and Moulin a Vent. Generally Beaujolais is better consumed fairly quickly although some of the top Cru’s can keep and mature well. The area’s best known but least inspiring wine made via a carbonic maceration, Beaujolais Nouveau, is now in decline. There is some white Beaujolais, made from Chardonnay, to be found in the north of the region, on the border with Maconnais.
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