Regions and Appellations France Burgundy

Burgundy Wine

Burgundy (Bourgogne in French) is an historic and highly respected wine region in eastern France. Burgundy wines have long had devout followers throughout the world and continue to do so today. Although Bordeaux produces about four times as much wine every year, Burgundy’s estimated 74,000 acres (30,000ha) of vineyards are considered to be of equal importance, producing some of the most exclusive wines on Earth.

Burgundy wines come from several distinct sub-regions, each with its own particular character. Four of these are located at the heart of Burgundy, in a narrow strip running for 75 miles (120km) between the towns of Dijon and Macon. From north to south they are the Cote d'Or (comprising the Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune), the Cote Chalonnaise and the Maconnais. (© Wine-Searcher)

Burgundy: the home of 'terroir'

Chablis, situated in an isolated pocket of limestone hills in north-western Burgundy, produces white wines so distinct in style from those of central Burgundy that it is often treated as a region in its own right. A full 130 miles to the south of Chablis lies Beaujolais – treated by the wine world as a sub-region of Burgundy, despite being located in the Rhone-Alpes region.

The two key grape varieties of Burgundy are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both members of the extended 'Pinot' family of grape varieties. Their 'poor cousins' Gamay and Aligote are also grown throughout the region, producing more rustic styles of wine. Gamay is used in the red and rosé wines of Macon, while Aligote has its own appellation in the form of Bourgogne Aligote. In the late 14th century, the first Duke of Burgundy outlawed Gamay, dismissing it as unfit for consumption. It was still permitted within the Rhone administrative region, however, where it found a new home in Beaujolais.

Wine production in Burgundy operates in three distinct ways. The first is through negociants, who buy the grapes or wine from several smaller producers and sell it under their own names. The second is via co-operatives – organized groups of grape-growers who pool their resources to establish a winery for collective use. The third method involves wine producers who own both vineyards and a winery. This is less common than the other two because of the costs involved in building and maintaining winemaking facilities.

The complexity of Burgundy's land divisions and the presence of co-operatives and negociants are inextricably linked – one giving rise to the other. The principal cause is found in the Napoleonic inheritance laws, which give equal inheritance rights to all children of a family. Before the French Revolution (1789), the French church and nobility owned most of Burgundy’s vineyards, but these were sold off and fragmented by the revolutionary government, and have been further divided with every subsequent generation.

The Burgundian climate is predominantly continental, with relatively short summers and cool winters, making it a challenge for the grapes to ripen fully. The greatest threats for Burgundy’s grape-growers – especially those in Chablis – are spring frosts and hail, which can cause great damage to flowering vines. The landscape here is characterized by its limestone soils, manifested either in rolling hills, steep, sharp valleys or rocky outcrops. These soils are of immense importance to the character of Burgundy’s wines, bringing a quintessential minerality and complexity – particularly to the white wines. In fact, along with considerations of orientation, it is the precise soil make-up of the best Burgundy vineyards that brings them the honor of Premier Cru or Grand Cru status (see Burgundy Wine Label Information).

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Most Popular Burgundy Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Grape
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 9th 97 $19,944
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Grand Cru Monopole, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 18th 96 $4,756
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 65th 96 $2,912
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 72nd 95 $2,656
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 80th 95 $3,310
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 82nd 93 $2,239
Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny Grand Cru 'Cuvee Vieilles Vignes', Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 118th 95 $873
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 126th 94 $2,526
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France Chardonnay 151st 95 $8,085
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru, France Pinot Noir 152nd 95 $1,190
Domaine du Clos de Tart 'Clos de Tart' Grand Cru Monopole, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 159th 94 $549
Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 'Cuvee Vieilles Vignes', Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 181st 95 $548
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Chambertin Clos-de-Beze Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 184th 96 $2,559
Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France Chardonnay 200th 95 $903
Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 211th 95 $1,722
Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 225th 97 $15,822
Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 237th 93 $257
Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 257th 94 $628
Coche-Dury Meursault, Cote de Beaune, France Chardonnay 258th 91 $642
Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France Chardonnay 259th 94 $260
Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair La Romanee Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 262nd 96 $5,591
Domaine Leflaive Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France Chardonnay 265th 94 $682
Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 277th 90 $318
Domaine Leflaive Les Pucelles, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, France Chardonnay 294th 94 $342
Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France Chardonnay 302nd 96 $5,073
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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