A Wine Cellar guide to Burgundy wines
Burgundy, located in the central-eastern part of France, produces some of the most complex and sought-after wines in the world. The area under vine spans some 30,000ha and the greatest weather threats are frost and hail.
Burgundy consists of 5 primary wine growing areas, excluding Beaujolais and Châtillonnais. Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune are historically recognised as Burgundy’s most important regions and, together, are known as Côte d’Or.
Common white varieties
The key white grape variety is Chardonnay. Varieties like Aligoté, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc are also permitted. Traditionally, Burgundy whites are barrel aged. They spend more time on the lees, creating richer, fuller wines – with the exception of Chablis, where the whites are far more austere, linear and typically unwooded.
Common red varieties
The key red variety is Pinot Noir. Varieties like Gamay are also permitted. Burgundy’s most coveted and expensive reds are produced from Pinot Noir. Though quality varies widely and inexperienced buyers best beware, fine examples resemble fresh red fruits on the nose, such as cherry and raspberry, along with more savoury, sometimes gamey notes of cured meats and damp mushrooms.
Burgundy’s classification system is possibly the most perplexing. A wine’s status is not determined by the reputation of the producer but rather the sub-regions and vineyard sites from which the grapes originate.
Domaine Jean-Claude Ramonet
Maison Joseph Drouhin
Did you know?
Pinotage is a South African-born variety. It was created in the 1920s by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsaut and has given rise to the Cape Blend, which is generally made from Bordeaux varieties along with a small percentage of Pinotage.