Nowhere in France is the concept of terroir – a group of vineyards (or vines) from the same region that share similar soil and climate conditions – more clearly defined than in Burgundy.
Located in central east area France, this wine region’s 1.6 million semur en auxoix burgundy francepopulace endures cold Continental winters, but enjoys warm summers.
Burgundy (Bourgogne) covers 31,500 square kilometers (over 12,000 square miles) and is rich in world and winemaking history. In this 360 km (225 mi) strip that stretches 100km (60 mi) south of Paris, from south of Dijon to north of Rhoône, there are 99 different wine appellations.
Over 180 million bottles of some of the world’s finest wines are made – from the full-bodied reds Corton and Pommard to the medium Beaune – to the world class white wines, the dry Chablis or Chassagne Montrachet.
As a consequence of the French revolution, the monastery vineyards were confiscated, which resulted in fragmentation and the small plots that prevail to the current day.
Six hundred Burgundy vineyards merit the appellation ‘Premier Cru’, which designates the very finest quality wine. Only 33 can claim the even more exclusive ‘Grand Cru’ label, among them the supreme Chambertin, Montrachet and Clos Vougeot.
Burgundy red wines, from the pinot noir grape, pair magnificently with Boeuf Bourguignon or a meal of pheasant, while a Chablis or other whites are delightful with everything from goat cheese to shrimp.
The Chablis, derived from the famous village of that name, makes a brisk dry, white wine, with refreshing acidity. The Chardonnay grapes grow in limestone rich with fossil remains.
The world famous Beaujolais, with its fruity flavor from the Gamay grape grown in granitic limestone, will accompany grilled chicken or lamb beautifully.
In Volnay, the luscious eponymous red has been produced for eight centuries. On a sliver of land less than 600 acres are grown Pinot Noir grapes that produce 1.3 million bottles of this elegant wine with its aroma of violets and raspberry.
For the connoisseur of the finest white wines, there is the nearby Meursault with it’s Premier Cru label. Chardonnay, grown on just over 1,000 acres of limestone and marl, are the basis for 2.5 million bottles of a dry white that can be aged anywhere from 3 to 15 years. With its aroma of apples and almond, 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 several decades of decline. With aromas of black cherry and black currant, 1.8 million bottles 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 roasted red meats or game venison, with a side of Livarot cheese.
Whatever your preference, you can never go wrong with a wine from Burgundy.