What is a Burgundian Wine?

Sure, I wanted to see the lush interior of France, more specifically the vineyards of Burgundy. Nevertheless, it was the wines I was most interested in exploring. The wines from Burgundy don’t carry the clout of their nearby cousins in Bordeaux, but they are some of my favorites. Since wine was a huge draw for me to visit, I took every opportunity to learn more while there. What follows is what I learned.

Grapes, grapes everywhere and quite a bit to drink

Burgundian wines are primarily made from the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Like most French wines, the name of the wine is based on the area or region and not the varietal as is common here in the US.

The white wines of Burgundy, made with Chardonnay grapes, come from these regions: Chablis, MÃ?¢connais, CÃ?´te Chalonnaise and CÃ?´te de Beaune–some of the best. Wines from Chablis are a dry Chardonnay with a mineral flavor delivered by the limestone soil in which it is grown. Those labeled Premier Cru are a huge step up with Grand Cru Chablis beating them all. MÃ?¢connais wines, besides those Pouilly-Fuisse and Vire-Clesse, are typically very affordable.

A regional sparkling wine, Cremant de Bourgogne, is also made here. It is an excellent value and yummy to boot. I drank it every day while in France.

The red wines of Burgundy, made primarily with Pinot Noir grapes, come from these regions: CÃ?´te Chalonnaise, MÃ?¢connais, CÃ?´te de Nuits–some of the best. Pinot Noirs from CÃ?´te Chalonnaise are known for some time to be a good value. Most are good table wines, with a few designated as Premier Cru. MÃ?¢connais makes a small amount of lighter, fruity reds from the gamay grape.

What are the Burgundian wine regions?

There are five main wine regions of Burgundy: Chablis, CÃ?´te Chalonnaise, MÃ?¢connais, CÃ?´te de Nuits and CÃ?´te de Beaune. It’s important to note that the best reds are thought to come from CÃ?´te de Nuits and the best whites from CÃ?´te de Beaune. These two regions combined are better known as CÃ?´te d’Or. Having been there myself, I’d say it’s some of the most beautiful country as well.

How to do I know I have a good bottle?

Most burgundies I tried were good to great. However, the French rate their wines with an easy-to-understand standard. Grand Cru is the highest rating, with some using Premier Cru as next best, next comes Villages. Lastly, the lowest quality references the name of the family who grow the vines.

More by Rebecca:

First Person: How I Save on Meals When Traveling in Paris

Top 5 Free Things to Do When Visiting Paris

Top Three Traditional Foods of Beaune

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