Week 2 of 4 Week France course // Burgundy
Burgundy-A brief introduction to the region
In preparation for week 2 of our Online Tour De France we are briefly exploring Burgundy.
This long, skinny wine region south-east of Paris runs south from its capital, Dijon. As a wine, Burgundy is the name on every Pinot Noir drinker's lips. Chardonnay is the alter ego, although both varieties only appear on the labels of the basic regional wines — known as Bourgogne Blanc and Bourgogne rouge. Other wines are defined by their appellations.
Burgundy Wine Classifications
Burgundy is divided into 4 levels of quality.
- 1% Grand Cru. There are 33 Grand Crus in the Côte d’Or and about 60% of the production is dedicated to Pinot Noir.
- 10% Premier Cru. There are 640 Premier Cru plots in Burgundy.
- 37% Village Wines
- 52% Regional Wines. Wines from overarching Bourgogne appellations.
At the heart of Burgundy is the Cote d'Or, which can be split into 2 sub-regions, each with their own style. The Cote is a skinny strip of vineyards covering the top appellations, some white or red only, others with both. Village wines are the base with premier and grand cru sites at the pinnacle. These are (loosely) based on their position on the famous east-facing hillsides. The bottom flatlands are Village, low slopes are Premier Cru and the perfectly situated mid-slope sections are Grand Cru
Image from Wine Folly
Cote des Nuits is home to 24 Grand Cru vineyards and some of the world’s most expensive vineyard real estate. The area begins just south of Dijon and ends at the village of Corgoloin. 80% of the wines produced here are Pinot Noir and the remaining 20% are either Chardonnay or Rosé. This region is home to some of the most famous Grand Cru vineyards, which form a patchwork on the eastern slopes facing the valley of the Saône River, starting at the village of Gevery Chambertin (most masculine, dense wines), past Morey St-Denis (a mix of masculine and feminine), Chambolle-Musigny (most feminine and pretty) and then south to Vougeot (a huge, variable region) and the most famous region of Vosne Romanée (known for ridiculous amounts of complexity and ageability). Most are small and can have many owners, due to the structure of post French Revolution inheritance laws.
Image from Wine Folly
Cote des Beaune is named after the medieval village that is the heart of wine commerce in Burgundy – the wine from this region is quite different from that of its neighbor to the north. Here, the valleys are open and rolling, the vineyards have more of a southeasterly exposure, and Chardonnay plays a more important role with 7 of the 8 Grand Cru vineyards producing white wine – Corton, Corton Charlemagne, Montrachet, being some of the well known names.
Cote Chalonnaise; produces richer chardonnays under the names of Pouilly-Fuissé and St Veran.
Wines from Meursault go well with subtle and fine-textured fish or meat such as grilled lobster, crawfish or king prawns in garlic butter sauce, and poultry or veal with white sauce.
Chateau De Meursault.suggests pairing this particular wine with Lobster Soufflé, Fried Red Mullet on Hazelnut Tiles with Asparaguses, Turbot Filet with Vegetables.