Get to know: Burgundy
This area situated between Dijon and Lyon is dominated by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Land here is at a premium and the best vineyard sites are split between many small winemakers whose estates are called Domains. The soils are rich with limestone which contributes to the wine's minerality.
Key Regions in Burgundy Wine
The most northerly appellation, close to Champagne, and is famous for lean, unoaked Chardonnay that is very pure and crisp.
In the north of the region, you'll find the Côte d'Or where many of the best vineyards are located. Pinot Noir is the star grape here, creating elegant wines with delicate fruit, soft tannins and high acidity.
The wines are expensive. The high demand and land prices due to the small area of vineyards have driven up prices. The vineyards are much smaller than in Bordeaux and even the basic wines are now surprisingly costly, but there is still relatively good value to be found in some areas of Burgundy.
The most well-known and iconic villages can be found in the Côte-de-Nuits. Here the wines of Vosne-Romanée, Nuit St George and Gevrey Chambertin are among those with Grand Cru status and whose wines command the highest prices.
To the south, the Côte-de-Beaune is known for Pinot Noir with a little more concentration from Pommard and the delicate wines of Volnay but also fine white wines made with Chardonnay that are rich and full-bodied from villages like Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. The wines here are barrel fermented and aged on their lees (yeast.)
Further south the Côte Chalonnaise can offer some excellent value wines from less prestigious villages where talented winemakers can really make a mark. There's some more affordable rustic Pinot Noir and smooth Chardonnay from the villages of Mercurey, Givry and Montagny.
The Macônnais is the most southerly region with the warmest climate and the largest source of good value Chardonnay. The top wines here are from the appellations of Vire-Clessé and Pouilly-Fuissé and there's also a lot of Bourgogne Blanc (Chardonnay) from the surrounding area.
Key Grape Varieties:
A thin skinned variety that can be tricky to grow. It suits cooler areas and produces delicately fragrant, subtly complex wines with flavours of cherry, raspberry and some savoury spice. It has less tannins than other red wines and high acidity.
One of the most versatile grapes in the world, Chardonnay can be citrusy & lean but also rich, buttery & full bodied depending on how the winemaker uses it.