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 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) 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 120km (75 miles) between the towns of Dijon and Macon. From north to south they are the C?te d'Or (comprising the C?te de Nuits and C?te de Beaune), the C?te Chalonnaise and the Maconnais.

Burgundy: the home of 'terroir'
© CIVB

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 200km (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 Rh?ne-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 Aligoté are also grown throughout the region, producing more rustic styles of wine.

Gamay is used in the red and rosé wines of Macon, while Aligoté has its own appellation in the form of Bourgogne Aligoté. In the late 14th Century, the first Duke of Burgundy outlawed Gamay, dismissing it as unfit for consumption.

It was still permitted within the Rh?ne administrative region, however, where it found a new home in Beaujolais. Chablis is a uniquely Chardonnay-based appellation.

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 previous 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.

Prior to the French Revolution in 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 $22,837
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Grand Cru Monopole, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 13th 96 $6,018
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 42nd 96 $3,818
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 48th 95 $4,075
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 50th 95 $3,362
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Echezeaux Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 56th 93 $2,985
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 70th 94 $3,416
Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny Grand Cru 'Cuvee Vieilles Vignes', Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 80th 95 $969
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Chambertin Clos-de-Beze Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 105th 96 $3,526
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru, France Pinot Noir 106th 95 $1,555
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France Chardonnay 110th 96 $9,805
Domaine du Clos de Tart 'Clos de Tart' Grand Cru Monopole, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 121st 94 $643
Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France Chardonnay 149th 94 $328
Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France Chardonnay 152nd 95 $1,168
Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 160th 95 $2,234
Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 193rd 94 $734
Coche-Dury Meursault, Cote de Beaune, France Chardonnay 194th 91 $763
Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 'Cuvee Vieilles Vignes', Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 195th 95 $557
Domaine Leflaive Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France Chardonnay 196th 94 $916
Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 198th 90 $429
Domaine Leroy Les Beaux Monts, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, France Pinot Noir 199th 96 $5,386
Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 200th 93 $319
Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier Le Musigny Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 215th 96 $2,852
Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair La Romanee Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 223rd 96 $6,159
Domaine Leroy Richebourg Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France Pinot Noir 233rd 97 $9,326
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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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