It is still possible to find affordable wine in this region, which produces some of the world’s ultimate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Where is it?
What are the main grapes grown?
What is distinctive about it?
Burgundy is a small, narrow area comprising a patchwork of tiny vineyards, so small that even one the size of a football pitch might be shared between multiple owners.
Burgundy has become very expensive – but there is value to be had! Centuries ago, monks worked out which areas were best for growing each type of grape.
Burgundy is long and thin; a patchwork of small vineyards.
How do you spot a good bottle?
The most exclusive will have Grand Cru or Premier Cru on the label. Below these, you will see a village or a sub-region name on the label.
A pair of truly noble grapes are grown here: Pinot Noir for red, and Chardonnay for white.
What are its classic dishes?
Burgundy is a culinary mecca within France. Bresse chicken… Boeuf bourguignon... cheese… mushrooms…
Imagine yourself there...
The region is great for cycling holidays, so set out on your bike with cheese and baguettes in the pannier, and a Villages bottle of wine!
This is the most important (and expensive) area. The north of this slope is called Côte de Nuits and is known for some of the best and most expensive Pinot Noir in the world, notably Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC). The southern section, which starts around the lovely town of Beaune, is named Côte de Beaune. It is famed for its Chardonnay: famous names on labels (which are also village or place names) include Montrachet and Corton-Charlemagne.
Heading south, this is where you can find some good-value Pinot Noir, and also sparkling wine called Crémant de Bourgogne. This is made in the same way as Champagne, features some of the same grapes, and offers great value for money.
Further south still, for terrific and affordable Chardonnay. Look for Mâcon on the label, and in particular for some appended village names producing really enjoyable wines such as Mâcon-Lugny and also other villages like Saint-Véran and Viré-Clessé. The most famous village is probably Pouilly-Fuissé – but fame brings with it higher prices!
This is a “satellite” sub-region spread out around the town of Chablis, which is actually closer to Champagne than to the Côte d’Or. Only white wine is made here, Chardonnay of course, and these are some of the most singular wines in the world, almost impossible to replicate. In wine terms, they’re “steely” and “mineral” and high in “acidity”.