Nowhere in France is the terroir concept —a group of
vineyards (or vines) from the same region that share similar soil and
climate— more dearly held than Burgundy.
Located in central east France, the region's 1.6 million inhabitants endure
cold Continental winters, but enjoy warm summers.
A region covering 31,500 square kilometers (over 12,000 square miles),
Burgundy (Bourgogne) is rich in world and winemaking history. In this 360 km
(225 mi) strip stretching 100km (60 mi) south of Paris, down from south of
Dijon to north of Rhône, can be found 99 different wine appellations.
Here over 180 million bottles of some of the world's finest wines are made —
from the full-bodied reds Pommard and Corton to the medium Beaune — to the
world class whites, the dry Chablis or Chassagne Montrachet.
As a consequence of the French revolution, the monasteries' vineyards were
confiscated, resulting in fragmentation into the system of small plots that
prevails to this day.
Six hundred of the vineyards there merit the appellation 'Premier Cru',
which designates the finest quality wine. Only 33 can boast the even more
exclusive 'Grand Cru' label, among them the supreme Montrachet, Chambertin
and Clos Vougeot.
Burgundy reds, from the pinot noir grape, pair superlatively with Boeuf
Bourguignon or pheasant, while a Chablis or other white is delightful with
everything from shrimp to goat cheese.
The Chablis, derived from the famous village of the same name, makes a brisk
dry, white, with refreshing acidity. The Chardonnay grapes here grow in
limestone rich with fossil remains.
The world famous Beaujolais, with its fruity flavor from the Gamay grape
grown in granitic limestone, can accompany lamb or grilled chicken.
In Volnay, the delicious eponymous red has been made for eight centuries. On
a sliver less than 600 acres are grown Pinot Noir that produce 1.3 million
bottles of this elegant wine with its aroma of raspberry and violets.
For the lover of the finest whites, turn to nearby Meursault with it's
Premier Cru label. Chardonnay, grown on just over 1,000 acres of limestone
and marl, form the basis for 2.5 million bottles of a dry white that can be
aged from 3 to 15 years. With its aroma of almond and apples, pair with a
fish in white sauce.
But the 'pièce de resistance' is the red Pommard, with its tannic, robust
flavor, making a comeback after some decades of decline. Here 1.8 million
bottles, with aromas of black cherry and black currant, are produced from a
mere 780 acres of Pinot Noir grown in limestone and red clay. Excellent for
aging from 5 to 15 years, it pairs well with game venison or roast red meat,
with a side of Livarot cheese.
Whatever your preference, you can never go wrong with a Burgundy.
© 2006 Winelovers2.com. Used by permission. All rights reserved. See
The Burgundy Report
Vins de Bourgogne - The Virtual Community of Wines in Burgundy
A good overview of the wines of the Burgundy region.