Definition - What does Burgundy mean?
Burgundy is a region in France known as the home of some of the most expensive wines. Located in the east-central part of France, it runs roughly 75 - 100 miles (120 - 160 km) from Dijon in the north to Lyon in the south. The region is divided into Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais; some consider Beaujolais to still be a sub-region of Burgundy. Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune make up Burgundy’s most famous area - Côte d’Or (Golden Slope).
It is believed that wine was established in Burgundy as early as the 2nd Century AD. The church played a major role throughout its growth and development; in 587, the first vines were donated to the church, Benedictines planted the first big vineyard at their Abbey of Cluny in 910, Cistercians created the largest wall-surrounded vineyard at Clos de Vougeot in 1336 and were the first to notice that terroir gave consistently different wines. After the 14th Century, Burgundy wine has carved its mark and continued growing to become what it is today.
WineFrog explains Burgundy
The label of a Burgundy wine will tell you which region it comes from and whether it is produced by an individual estate (Mis en boutielle au Château) or a négociant (Mis en boutielle par…). It will also tell you the quality of the wine:
- Grand Cru
- Highest quality available;
- Only 1-2% of production;
- Meant for cellaring; and
- Can be aged on average for 5 – 7 years.
- Second best quality available;
- 10 – 12% of production; and
- Can be cellared for 3 – 5 years.
- Bend of wines from several vineyards;
- Considered lesser quality;
- 36 – 37% of production; and
- Enjoyed young (2 – 4 years).
The 2,000 – 3,200 domaines in Burgundy consist of:
- Small growers who sell to larger producers and négociants
- Individual growers who sell their own wine