The 5-minute essential guide to Burgundy wines

Burgundy has something special that puts it in a class of its own. Its vineyards are like jewels preciously preserved in a casket of traditions. Its hushed wineries are heady with the aromas of vintages down the centuries.
After just five minutes in the place, you'll be dying to find out a whole lot more about it...

Burgundy, c’est chic!

With 28,334 hectares under production, Burgundy represents a mere 3% of the French wine industry. It's a niche market, but one that punches well above its weight! Gourmets have succumbed to the elegance of its wines ever since the 19th century, while Napoleon allowed just one wine to be served at his table: Chambertin.
Its Grands Crus are exceptional but not exceptions in the region. They account for no fewer than 33% of appellations, and are typical of the vineyards here, spreading their fame far and wide.
But celebrated as Burgundy wines are, they remain modest. There's nothing bling here – just a discreet brouhaha that's enough to preserve the riches of the region.

Burgundy is out in front in the number of appellations.

The region boasts 100 appellations amongst 5 terroirs divided into 4 categories, from the regional AOC to the Grands Crus.
Even if it can sometimes appear complex and difficult to understand, this categorisation bears ample witness to the richness and diversity of Burgundy wines.

The Burgundy 'climats' are included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The Burgundy "climats" are a special feature of the regional wine industry. These are plots of land that have been precisely delineated for centuries. They enjoy special conditions (exposure, nature of the soil) and imbue the wine with their special qualities.
This cultural heritage and unique region were included in the World Heritage List on 4 July 2015.

The vines are protected by enclosures.

Some of the vines are surrounded by drystone walls built in the Middle Ages. Each enclosure surrounds a specific 'climat'.
The Vougeot enclosure is one of the most prestigious, and is a marvellous illustration of the Burgundian image.

The world's most expensive wine comes from Burgundy.

On July 1 2017, the world's most expensive wine was once again a bottle of Romanée-Conti (€12,877 on average). This estate has a monopoly on the appellation of the same name. A tiny jewel of just 1.60 hectares!

Chardonnay: the stuff of dreams.

Burgundy is the Eldorado for Chardonnay! This ultra-subtle variety leaves just enough room for other terroirs which will in turn glorify it. While the Chablis variety is vivacious, the Grand Crus on the Côtes de Beaune enjoy a rounder finish.

The precious pinot noir remains mysterious.

Native to the region, pinot noir lies at the origin of one of the greatest Burgundy reds. It's a fragile, capricious variety which has a few surprises up its sleeve when you know how to look after it.

Local poultry is another AOC.

In Burgundy, even the poultry is proud to be local! This year the Bresse poultry AOC celebrated its 60th anniversary. The subtlety of its meat is a perfect match for the delicate flavours of Burgundy wines. The traditional poulard à la crème goes divinely with the unctuosity of a Puligny-Montrachet chardonnay. The Bresse chicken is a delicious complement to the spices of a pinot noir from the Côte de Nuits.

Burgundy and its picturesque little villages surrounded by sloping vines has all the inimitable charm of a timeless destination.

For more info...

Getting to Burgundy