In Burgundy, the concept of “Terroir” is very important, since it’s the soil that gives its name to the wine.
Each wine region in France has its own wine classification. In Burgundy, the concept of “terroir” (cultivated land) is very important since it’s the soil that gives its name to the wine (in Alsace, it’s the grape variety, in Bordeaux, the estate). The Burgundy “Terroir”, wine-producing land parcel, is also called “Climat” (climate). This is a plot of vines, carefully delineated and named for centuries, which has its own history and benefits from specific geological and climatic conditions.
“In Burgundy, when we talk about “climate”,
we don’t look up to heaven, but down to earth”
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the most common grape varieties in Burgundy.
In Burgundy, four main grape varieties are grown. The “red” grape varieties are Pinot Noir and Gamay. The “white” varieties are Chardonnay and Aligoté.
Pinot Noir in Burgundy
Pinot Noir produces the best red wines in Burgundy, notable for their aromas of red fruit and spices. The ageing potential of wines made from Pinot Noir is generally considerable.
Pinot Noir juice is colourless. It’s during maceration and its time in the fermentation tank that the colourant contained in the skin of the grapes gives the wine its red colour.
Chardonnay in Burgundy
Chardonnay produces exceptional white wines known for their aromas of minerals, flowers and white and yellow fruit.
White Burgundy wines made from Chardonnay are recognised worldwide for their aromatic qualities.
Did you know?
All of Burgundy’s vineyards are classified Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), which is unique in France!
In Burgundy, unlike other regions, no blending of grapes is performed during the wine-making process. The great wines of Burgundy therefore express all the wealth of Burgundy’s lands through the Pinot Noir grapes for red wines and Chardonnay for white wines.Except for a few exceptions such as Passe-Tout-Grains, the Coteaux Bourgundy or certain Crémants de Bourgogne.
Burgundy Wine Classification: Regional appellations
They exist throughout Burgundy’s wine-producing region. On the bottle, you’ll find the word “Bourgogne” (Burgundy).
Examples of regional appellations: Bourgogne Aligoté, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune, Crémant de Bourgogne…
Burgundy Wine Classification: Village appellations
There are 44 communal appellations. The wine then carries the name of the village in whose area it is produced.
Examples of communal appellations: Beaune, Savigny les Beaune, Auxey-Duresses, Saint-Romain…
Burgundy Wine Classification: Premier Cru appellations
Within a communal appellation area, plots, which are also called “climats”, have been established and classified as premiers crus (literally, first growths), particularly with regard to the consistency of their quality.
For example, the plot “les Marconnets”, located in the Beaune appellation area, is classified as 1er cru.
Beaune is the largest appellation (by area) in the Côte d’Or and has 42 plots classified as premiers crus.
The bottle must be marked “Appellation 1er cru contrôlée” with the name of the town (for example: “Appellation Beaune 1er Cru”). The name of the plot is not always specified on the label.
Examples of Premiers Crus appellations: Beaune 1er Cru “Les Marconnets”, Beaune 1er Cru “Les Cents Vignes”, Volnay 1er Cru “Les Caillerets”, Pommard 1er Cru “Les Rugiens”, Meursault 1er Cru “Les Perrières”, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru “Les Peuillets”, Santenay 1er Cru “La Comme”.
Burgundy Wine Classification: Grands Crus appellations
Grands Crus appellations are the “elite” of Burgundy wines. They are produced on the most famous plots.
The same Grand Cru can be grown in several towns, as is the case of Corton Grand Cru which is produced in the communes of Aloxe Corton, Ladoix-Serrigny and Pernand Vergelesses.
The bottle must include the mandatory reference “Grand Cru”.
Only red Grands Crus can be followed by the name of the “climat” from which the wine originates (for example: Corton Grand Cru – Les Bressandes).
In Côte de Beaune, there are 8 Grands Crus: Corton, Corton Charlemagne, Charlemagne, Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet…
Romanée-Conti is certainly the most famous of Burgundy’s Grands Crus appellations. Only a select few can get their hands on some as the average production is just 5980 bottles per year.
List of the 33 Grands Crus de Bourgogne
Grands Crus Blancs (White) de Bourgogne (7 Grands Crus) :
– Chablis Grand Cru (103 Hectares)
Décliné en 7 climats : Chablis Vaudésir, Chablis Bougrots, Chablis Les Preuses, Chablis Grenouilles, Chablis Les Clos, Chablis Blanchots, Chablis Valmur
Côte de Beaune :
– Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru
– Montrachet Grand Cru
– Bâtard Montrachet Grand Cru
– Bienvenues Bâtard Montrachet Grand Cru
– Criots Bâtard Montrachet Grand Cru
– Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru
Grands Crus Rouges ( Red) de Bourgogne (26 Grands Crus) :
Côte de Beaune :
– Corton Grand Cru
Le Corton its the only Grand Cru red Bourgogne to be situated in côte de Beaune.
(Corton Renardes, Corton Bressandes, Corton Clos du Roi and Corton)
Côte de Nuits :
– Clos Saint Denis Grand Cru
– Clos de Tart Grand Cru (Monopole)
– Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru
– Clos de la Roche Grand Cru
– Bonnes Mares Grand Cru
– Chambertin Grand Cru
– Latricières Chambertin Grand Cru
– Griottes Chambertin Grand Cru
– Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru
– Mazoyères Chambertin Grand Cru
– Chapelle Chambertin Grand Cru
– Ruchottes-chambertin Grand Cru
– Mazis-chambertin Grand Cru
– Chambertin-clos-de-bèze Grand Cru
– Richebourg Grand Cru
– La Romanée Grand Cru
– Romanée Saint Vivant Grand Cru
– Romanée Conti Grand Cru (Monopole)
– La Tâche Grand Cru
– La Grande Rue Grand Cru