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Burgundy Is Not Just A Colour

Burgundy — otherwise known as Bourgogne or vin de Bourgogne is wine made in Burgundy, a region in eastern France. The most famous wines are dry red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes and white wines made from Chardonnay grapes. Other grape varieties such as Gamay and Aligoté are also used, but not as noble as the aforementioned two varieties. Small amounts of rosé and sparkling wines are produced in the region as well.

Burgundy may be a relatively small as compared to other wine producing regions, but the influence it has on the world of wine is vast. It is also home to some of the most expensive wines.


Burgundy’s popularity dates back to many centuries ago. In 1522 A.D., Erasmus, a Catholic priest said, “O happy Burgundy which merits being called the mother of men since she furnishes from her mammaries such a good milk”.

Approximately 200 million years ago, Burgundy was part of a sea that created limestone soils. The soils and climate set these wines apart from the rest; sometimes referred to as terroir.

Nowhere else in the world is the concept of terroir more important than in Burgundy itself. A terroir is the characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced (goût de terroir). It embodies the effect of sunlight, elevation, soil, gradient of the vineyard, climate as well as the winemaker’s intervention. It is definitely not just the taste of rocks.

Burgundian Terroir

Over hundreds of years, Burgundy has become renowned for being the best place in the world for producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which is another reason why wines hailing from Burgundy are so famous and sought-after. Within the region, vineyards are classified by 4 tiers, and these tiers are differentiated as to how exceptional they are for growing those grape varietals.

Grand Cru — the tier reserved for the best vineyards. Only approximately 2% of the vineyards in Burgundy are crowned as Grand Cru. They are extremely expensive and are aggressively coveted by wine collectors.

Premier Cru — the tier reserved for vineyards that are extremely good, but not as noble as Grand Cru. Approximately 12% of the vineyards in Burgundy have this classification. They are also relatively expensive.

Village Wines — the tier reserved for wines that are produced using grapes from several vineyards in Burgundian villages. The name of the village where the grapes were from will be labeled on the Village wine bottles. Approximately 36% of the wines fall under this tier.

Regional Wines — this is the entry-level tier and are reserved for wines that are produced from a combination of vineyards from a number of Burgundian villages, as opposed to a single village, like village wines. Approximately 50% of the wines fall under this tier.

Below is an example of a wine label that you can find easily in Burgundy.

An example of a Burgandian wine label

Food Pairing

Be adventurous and match Burgundy with dishes from around the world. As both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are extremely versatile wines, the different growing areas within Burgundy offer an array of choices that go well with various types of cuisines.

You can match red Burgundy with dishes that consist of oily fish, poultry, white meats, starches and roasted vegetables. Dishes that are heavily seasoned and spicy should be avoided as it will mask the flavors of the wine.

An example of a white meat dish

You can match white Burgundy with dishes that consist of seafood, roasts, polenta and vegetables.


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