While many of us may have learned about the region in school geography lessons, the wine has made Burgundy a household name. Burgundy is a French wine region that produces top-notch red and white wines. These wines are highly esteemed for their exceptional quality and are among the most expensive in the world. Before understanding why they're so highly regarded, let's first understand what separates red and white Burgundy.
The Burgundy region in eastern France has been the top producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes for centuries. Red Burgundy, made solely from Pinot Noir grapes, and White Burgundy, made from Chardonnay grapes, are produced in this renowned region. The process is straightforward, and the quality of the wine is unparalleled.
Let's dive deeper into the distinctive qualities that make Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, also known as red Burgundy and white Burgundy, stand out among other wines from different regions.
Burgundy wines possess a distinct flavor profile primarily influenced by the terroir or the unique qualities of the ground where the grapes are grown. The terroir concept greatly emphasizes the sense of place, allowing you to experience the region where the wine was produced with every sip of Burgundy wine. It is no wonder that Burgundy stands out as one of the most terroir-driven wine regions in the world.
Côte d'Or boasts 32 exceptional Grand Cru vineyards, which account for only a fraction, less than 5%, of the total wine production. These vineyards are highly regarded and produce some of the finest wines in the world. Each vineyard carries a unique name, such as Chevalier-Montrachet and Richebourg for red wine and Corton Charlemagne and Le Musigny for white wine. It is important to note that some of these grand cru names may also serve as part of a village name.
In the regions of Côte d'Or and Côte Chalonnaise, there are precisely 585 premiers cru vineyards, which account for 18% of Burgundy's total production. The classification of premier cru is given to the village name and the vineyard, as evident in examples like Meursault Charmes 1er cru and Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 1er cru.
Village-level wines have similar grape restrictions as Premiers Cru and Grand Cru but with a slightly higher allowed yield per hectare. These wines are famous for finding good deals. For instance, any vineyard site in Puligny-Montrachet, regardless of its classification, can be included in a bottle labeled Puligny-Montrachet.