Understanding Burgundy cannot be achieved without understanding the concept of ‘Terroir’.
The area we know as Burgundy extends from Chablis in the north and goes down as far as Beaujolais in the south.
The two major varieties you need to know are Chardonnay for the whites and Pinot Noir for the reds.
The 5 regions of Burgundy, travelling from north to south, are: Chablis, the Côte d'Or, the Côte Chalonnaise, the Maconnais and Beaujolais.
Of the five regions the sub-region of the Côte d'Or is the most significant in terms of absolute quality and is where the most famous Burgundies come from. They include La Romanée-Conti, La Romanée, Richebourg, Musigny, Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Béze.
The appellations of Burgundy can be divided into four levels and include
1) Bourgogne and Bourgogne-Passetoutgrains as the most basic (forget the lesser Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire and Bourgogne Ordinaire because they are less than ‘ordinary’),
3) Premier Cru and
4) Grand Cru.
The Côte d'Or is divided into two (2) further sub-regions. Between Dijon and Nuits-St Georges there is the Côte de Nuits which includes the appellations of Marsannay, Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Flagey-Echezeaux, Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-St Georges. The more southerly sub-region is the Côte de Beaune which begins at the appellation Ladoix-Serrigny and includes Aloxe-Corton, Savigny-Lès Beaune, Chorey, Beaune, Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, St Aubin, St Romain, Auxey-Duresses, Monthèlie Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay and Cheilly-Marange
Chablis produces some of the most profound and great white wines with a distinctive ‘Terroir’
The main grape variety in the Beaujolais is Gamay.
Understanding Burgundy cannot be achieved without understanding of the concept of ‘Terroir’