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Burgundy wine

Burgundy wine (French: Bourgogne or Vin de Bourgogne) is wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France. The most famous wines produced here - those commonly referred to as Burgundies - are red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes or white wines made from Chardonnay grapes.

Burgundy has a higher number of appellations d'origine contrôlée (AOCs) than any other French region, and is often seen as the most terroir-conscious of the French wine regions. The various Burgundy AOCs are classified from carefully delineated Grand Cru vineyards down to more non-specific regional appellations. The practice of delineating vineyards by their terroir in Burgundy goes back to Medieval times, when various monasteries played a key role in developing the Burgundy wine industry.

Wine characteristics and classification

Burgundy is in some ways the most terroir-oriented region in France; immense attention is paid to the area of origin, and in which of the region's 400 types of soil a wine's grapes are grown.

Burgundy classifications are geographically focused. A specific vineyard or region will bear a given classification, regardless of the wine's producer. This focus is reflected on the wine's labels where appellations are most prominent and producer's names often appear at the bottom in much smaller text.

The main levels in the Burgundy classifications, in descending order of quality, are: Grand Crus, Premier Crus, village appellations, and finally regional appellations.
  • Grand Cru wines are produced from the small number of the best vineyard sites in the Côte d'Or, as strictly defined by the AOC laws. Grand Cru wines make up 2% of the production at 35 hectolitres per hectare (approx. 7 tons/hectare).
  • Premier Cru wines are produced from specific vineyard sites that are still considered to be of high quality, but not as well regarded as the Grand Cru sites. Premier Cru wines make up 12% of production at 45 hectolitres/hectare (approx. 9.5 tons/hectare).
  • Village appellationwines are produced from a blend of wines from supposedly lesser vineyard sites within the boundaries of one of 42 villages, or from one individual but non-classified vineyard. Wines from each different village are considered to have their own specific qualities and characteristics and not all Burgundy communes have a village appellation. Village wines make up 36% of production at 50 hectolitres/hectare (approx. 10.5 tons/hectare). Several villages in Burgundy have appended the names of their Grand Cru vineyards to the original village name in order to increase their profile - hence village names such as "Puligny-Montrachet" and "Aloxe-Corton".
  • Regional appellation wines are wines produced over the entire region, or over an area significantly larger than that of an individual village. At the village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru level, only red and white wines are found, but some of the regional appellations also allow the production of rosé and sparkling wines as well as wines dominated by other grape varieties than Pinot Noir.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name also referring to wines produced predominantly from Pinot Noir grapes. The name is derived from the French words for "pine" and "black" alluding to the varietals' tightly clustered dark purple pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit.

The grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France and is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world. The worldwide archetype for Pinot noir is that grown in Burgundy where it has probably been cultivated since AD200, although there is some debate about the actual time when grape production first started in Burgundy.

Burgundy's Pinot Noir produces great wines that can age very well in good years, developing floral flavours as they age, often reaching peak 15 or 20 years after the vintage.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the dominant white grape in Burgundy though Pinot noir vines outnumber it by nearly a 3 to 1 ratio. Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine and is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France.

The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavours commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences as terroir and oak. It is an important component of many sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne.

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