Burgundy

This celebrated wine growing area has some 26,500 hectares of vineyards producing on average 200 million bottles per year available from an amazing 4,800 individual winegrowing domains. Its production represents about 6% of France’s total wine production – quality not quantity, perhaps.

Burgundy is a long, narrow wine region in eastern France, southeast of Paris.  Burgundy is a fragmented region, consisting of four somewhat contiguous districts: Chablis, Côte d’Or, Côte Chalonnaise, and Mâconnais.



Appellation Characteristics:

Max. Summer Temp.
80°F

Altitude
285 m

Main Soil Types

Excluding Chablis, the Burgundy vineyards occupy hills and slopes along a 100-mile (160-km) stretch of the western side of the Sâone Valley. The region is noted for its diversity of soils -- both within and between vineyards -- but bourgogne-wines.com still sees "a unity of geology and soil" from north to south; a unity characterized by sedimentary soils comprised of clay, marls, and limestone over an older substrate of granite, lava, and schist.

The soils of the Côte d'Or, Côte de Nuit and Côte de Beaune consist of a type of shallow intrazonal soil rich in lime and formed from  underlying limestone or chalk rocks and brown limestone soils with a covering of broken rock fragments.

Côte Chalonnais is part of the northeast face of the Massif Central with differing soils characteristics in its northern and southern portions. The cap rock in the north is Nantoux limestone with Jurassic limestone soils dominant.

Chablis - a different beast - is the "big island" in the Kimmeridgian chain and is home to some of the finest Chardonnay known. The defined region was recognized in 1923 by the Wine Tribunals as being grown on a sub-soil of Kimmeridgian limestone while wine grown anywhere else in Chablis would be classed Petit Chablis. The mid-slope in Chablis maps almost perfectly to the Kimmeridgian outcrop with the soft, carbonate-rich mud rock being capped by Portlandian Barrios limestone and supported by Calcares à Astarte, itself a limestone.

Average Rainfall
923 mm

Latitude 46° 23′  N

Longitude  4° 38′ E

Types of Grape

The two great Burgundy grapes - Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Nearly all the red wines of the Burgundy region derive from a single red grape variety, Pinot Noir. Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are thought to be native to the Burgundy region.

Pinot Noir is notorious for being difficult to cultivate, because it requires very specific soil and climate parameters to produce its best fruit. Burgundy has that climate and soil. The Burgundy region has more success with this grape than any other wine region. Red Burgundy wines are the world’s finest examples of this challenging, but delicious, variety.

Chardonnay is the other important variety in the Burgundy region, and the basis for the region’s most important white wines. Although Chardonnay is a nearly universal variety today, it reaches its height in Burgundy, where it makes complex, masterful wines that can age for decades.