Burgundy | World Renowned Wine Region
The region lies in East-Central France between the regions of Auxerre and Macon, ideally situated just one hour from Lyon and two from Paris. 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.
Since the Middle Ages, the Bourgogne winegrowing region has been in a prime location on an historical trading route. Furthermore, linking Northern Europe with the Mediterranean Basin.
It was way back in 52BC when the Romans invaded Gaul, then forming the town of Autun in the Bourgogne region. It was the Romans who began planting vines over the following two centuries to model the new landscape for great winemaking to ensue, truly flourishing towards the later years.
Years later, 1000AD, it became the Benedictine monks’ (of the Abbey of Cluny) responsibility to tend to the vines. Leading to the discovery of complexity that lay below the surface of Burgundy. Upon discovery they realised that plots of earth were creating completely different wines despite their proximity, giving birth to the Burgundian ‘Climats’ definition and segmentation, Now known for its dramatic, mosaic-like variations of soil.
Climate & Soil
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. The convergence of Mediterranean, continental and oceanic influences plays a major role in terms of the aromatic richness and global reputation of its wines.
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. All these elements feed into the concept of "Climat"; a plot of vines, carefully delineated and named for centuries, which has its own history and benefits from specific geological and climatic conditions.
The famed Climats and lieux-dits of Bourgogne give the wines their unique personalities, whilst representing the origins of their Bourgogne heritage. Each region in France has its own particular system of wine classification. In Bourgogne (Burgundy), the concept of “terroir” (cultivated land) is of special significance to the extent that the soil gives its name to the wine (in Alsace, it’s the grape variety, in Bordeaux, the estate). Keeping on their toes, the Burgundy winemakers never gets complacent. Only a few decades ago, researchers discovered the subsoil contains dietary elements and microorganisms. Elements that are essential in the development of a wine’s aromatic qualities.
Burgundy mainly produces white wine from Chardonnay, with some Aligoté, grapes and red wine from Pinot Noir, with some Gamay. 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.
- Chardonnay (white), accounting for 51% of land under vine
- Pinot Noir (red), with 39,5 %
- Gamay (red) and Aligoté (white) which account for 2,5% and 6% respectively
- Sauvignon, César, Pinot Beurot, Sacy, Melon, and a few other minor varietals make up the remaining 1%
Bonus Note: Venturing down to the Grand Auxerrois vineyards, you are more likely to encounter lesser known varietals such as Sauvignon and César. The first produces a light and fruity white wine called Saint-Bris (an appellation Village). The second, when blended with Pinot Noir, gives solidity and a length on the tongue to red wines(Irancy appellation Village).
Recognized around the world for its prestigious AOCs, the Burgundy region has exactly 84 appellations to its name, representing more than 23% of all AOCs attributed to French wines.
The region’s Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée (AOCs) are defined by; sunshine hours, photosynthesis, temperature, rainfall, and subsoils.
Burgundian wines are classified into four tiers.
- Regional appellations
- Village appellations
- Premiers Crus
- Grand Crus
Appellations Régionale - 7 Appellations
Offering an excellent entry point into the world of Bourgogne wines, they are a brilliant option to entertain family and friends.
Includes: Bourgogne Aligoté, Mâcon Village, Coteaux Bourguignons, Crémant de Bourgogne.
Appellations Village - 44 Appellations
These labels take their names from the commune where their grapes were grown, such as Mercurey, Pommard, and Nuits-Saint-Georges.
Appellations Premiers Crus
Specific individual plots within the appellations Village. Produced as single plot wines, they are more precisely defined within the Village Appellations. This is the element of Climat in which they are labelled. On the bottle, the name of the commune is followed by the name of the plot where the grapes were grown.
Appellations Grands Crus - 33 wines
World-renowned Grand Cru wines that express the unique characteristics of their exceptional plots, excluding sophistication. Labels are stated with a single Climat name such as Corton, Montrachet, Romanée Saint-Vivant or Clos de Tart.
Previous Le Club Wines from this region
Domaine Rougeot - Meursault "Sous la Velle" 2014
Confuron-Gindre - Vosne-Romanée "La Colombières" 2018
Rougeot-Dupin - Bourgogne Chardonnay 2019
Pierre-Henri Rougeot - Meursault "Sous la Velle" 2019