Wines of Burgundy: Viticulture Royalty
With an estimated 74,000 acres of vineyards, Burgundy produces fine reds and whites that have long created intensely devout followers around the globe. In fact, some of the most exclusive and prominent wines in the world are from this region that lies near the rolling valleys and slopes of Saone River.
What makes Burgundy wines so sought-after? How are they made? What types of Burgundy wines are in existence today? Join us at Singapore Wine Vault in answering these questions about France’s famous burgundy gem.
Rouge and Blanc
Red and white Burgundy wines are equally important in the global viticulture scene. These wines are as some of the world’s best and most expensive options, making a bottle a good addition to any wine cellar. Though these wines are made from only a couple of grape varieties that can also be found in other vineyards around the world, those that are sourced from Burgundy have a distinct taste and quality.
Red burgundy is made from 100% Pinot Noir, while the white burgundy is produced from 100% Chardonnay. At first glance, the production of red and white burgundy seems simple and common with nothing to separate it from other producers. However, those coming from this region have a certain touch that could not be found in other Pinot Noir or Chardonnay because of the region’s terroir. Burgundy’s terroir is what gives the red and white burgundies the signature taste of the region.
The cool limestone slopes of Burgundy are home to Pinot Noir, a well-known variety which can be difficult to grow in other parts of the world. It is fickle and prone to over-cropping. Given these factors, Burgundy winemakers make it a point to carefully choose the grapes to be used in red burgundy, and Pinot Noir is mainly planted in Cote de Nuits.
Chardonnay, on the other hand, is relatively easier to grow because it adapts to different types of soils and climates. In Burgundy, this variety can be found in Chablis, in the northernmost part of the region. White burgundy is known for its flavours which contain notes of minerals and lemon, as well as its steely and dry texture. Moreover, Chardonnay in Chablis is un-oaked, which makes it different from other Chardonnays in other parts of the region and the world.
From Regional to Grand
Because the combined characters of the land are inseparable in making Burgundy wines, the vineyards are classified by levels depending on the plot’s capacity to grow grapes. These classification levels can be seen on each bottle of Burgundy wine to inform consumers of its quality and where it was produced, much to the delight of wine collectors and aficionados.
The four classifications are divided into Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Village Wines, and Regional Wines. When a bottle has a classification of Grand Cru, expect it to be very expensive. This Grand Cru classification is given to the best vineyards in Burgundy; it is not easily awarded. In fact, only 2% of all vineyards in the region have this classification, making this bottle highly attractive to wine collectors.
Premier Cru, on the other hand, is the second classification. Premier Cru vineyards are not as stellar as Grand Cru vineyards, but are still considered high-quality. Wines produced in these vineyards also tend to be expensive.
The third classification is Village Wines. Many believe that these are worth the money because while village wines are not the same as Grand Cru and Premier Cru, their quality is almost the same as the first two. Village wines are those made from grapes that were harvested in one of the 42 villages in Burgundy. The bottle will feature the village where the grapes grew to make its source locale clear.
Lastly, Regional Wines are made from grapes coming from a combination of vineyards in Burgundy villages. Bottles of Regional Wines are simply labelled as the “wine of Bourgone.” About half of all Burgundy wines are classified as Regional Wines.
Even with such classification levels, the quality of Burgundy wines are rarely questioned because of the various, but equally efficient wine warehousing and production in the region. There are three ways in which Burgundy wines are produced. One is through negotiants, who buy grapes or wine from small winemakers before selling it under their names. Cooperatives, meanwhile, establish wineries to be used collectively. Another way to produce Burgundy wines is to own vineyards and a winery. Though this is more costly, this gives winemakers more control over their wine storage facility and operation.
France is renowned all over the world for its beauty and elegance, and these qualities are distilled in each bottle of Burgundy wine. It’s no wonder that the name of this region is also synonymous with deep, dark red. Also, its depth, colour, and taste has made it an undisputable part of the global wine monarchy. No wonder wine lovers don’t hesitate at least a few bottles when they visit a celebrated wine cellar like Singapore Wine Vault.