Red Burgundy Wine Facts
Most Burgundy wines are dry and tend to be more robust, and sometimes heavier, than the red wines of Bordeaux.
The table is divided into the main regions of the Burgundy area; the names of districts (communes) within a region are in capital letters (these names always appear on labels), and then follow the names of a few of the vineyards in each district.
Cote de Nuits (northern part of Cote d’Or)
Chambertin, Clos deBize*, Clos St. Jacques, Charmes, Griotte, Latriciere
Amoureuses, Le Musigny*, Bonnes Mares, Vieilles Vigne
Clos de Vougeo
Romande-Conti*, Romanee St. Vivant, La Tache*, La Romanee*, Le Richebourg*, Malconsorts, Grands-Echezeaux*
Clos des Lambrays, Clos de la Roche, Clos de Tar
Boudots, Cailles, Clos de la Marechale, Porrets, Pruliers, Vaucrains, St.-Georges
Cote de Beaune (southern part of Cote d’Or)
Bressandes, Le Corton, Renardes, Clos duRo VOLNA Caillerets, Champans, Santenots
Chanlins, Epenots, La Platiere, Pezerolles, Rugien
Avaux, Boucherottes, Champs-Pimont, Graves, Clos des Mouches, Theurons
Hospices de Beaune
The Hospices own various vineyards in the Cote de Beaune. Wines are sold as Hospices, plus the names of old benefactors. Of good quality and expensive
The names below are those of districts:
St. Amour, Brouilly, Julienas, Morgon, Fleurie, Moulin-a-Vent Macon.
No distinguished red wines, but acceptable for everyday drinking = very fine and very costly.
The vineyards of Burgundy stretch from Auxerre almost to Lyon in France, and have existed for more than a thousand years. In the twelfth century wines made by monks found favour at the court of the Dukes of Burgundy, and much later, when Louis XIV drank the wines of the Cote d’Or on his doctor’s advice, his patronage ensured their fame, based on the maintenance of high standards. (Incidentally, ‘Burgundy’ is an anglicized version of Bourgogne). The Cote de Nuits, the northern part of the Cote d’Or, produces very little white wine, but is world-famous for its red wines, full-bodied, with a magnificent bouquet, and maturing more slowly than the red wines of the Cote de Beaune, in the south of the Cote d’Or. One of the finest, La Romanee-Conti, is rare now in Britain, because of competition from America. But there is justice in this: La Romanee-Conti was one of the last vineyards with old root stock saved from a phylloxera attack; however, after the last war, these old vines had to go, and the vineyard was planted with French Pinot Noir grapes (used for the making of good red wines in both the Cote de Nuits and the Cote de Beaune), grafted ontophy/Zoxera-resistant American briars.
Chambertin is another wine which has always been famous in Britain and is now much sought after in America, Canada and many other countries. It comes from two vineyards in the Gevrey-Chambertin commune, Chambertin and Chambertin Clos de Beze, divided between twenty-five owners. This accounts for the fact that even Chambertins of the same vintage can vary considerably. At its best, though, Chambertin is one of the leading six Burgundies, combining grace with vigour, firmness with finesse, and exuding a glorious bouquet. Its alcoholic strength is 11.5°. The Cote de Beaune, famous for its white wines, produces red wines lighter in style than those of the Cote de Nuits. At Beaune, the main centre is the Hospices de Beaune, the owner of thirty-one vineyards left to it by wealthy benefactors. The wine is usually auctioned on the third Sunday in November, and the bidding is done ‘by the candle’: three small candles are lit as a lot is put up for sale, and the last bid received before the third candle goes out is the successful one. Hospices wines are sold by the name of the donor, and this appears on the label. One of the most famous is Hospices de Beaune, Beaune, Cuvee Guigone de Salins — and Guigone de Salins founded the Hospices in 1443. Red Burgundies are generally more robust and assertive, less complex and therefore easier to appreciate than Clarets. Beaujolais especially matures much more quickly — so fast, in fact, that it is drunk within a year of the vintage — and even, as ‘Beaujolais nouveau’, within weeks of bottling. The Gamay grape, which normally results in an acid wine, produces in the Beaujolais district a wine that is light, fruity and fresh. It can range in quality from an undemanding, drinkable blend without any handle to its name, to something more exalted: ‘Beaujolais Superieur’, for example, comes from a restricted area (though a fairly wide one); ‘Beaujolais Villages’ comes from a more narrowly defined production area, and then there are wines entitled to bear the name of their cru, like St. Amour, Brouilly, Julienas, Fleurie, Moulin-a-Vent and Morgon. Beaujolais is the southern-most area of the Burgundy region. The Cote Maconnais, which adjoins it, is famous for its white Burgundy; its red wines are as good as any vin de table for everyday drinking. This is true, too, of the plain Beaujolais. Beaujolais wines generally are cheaper than most Burgundies, although the ‘cms’ are rather more expensive than the others from the region. Burgundy should generally be served at room temperature„but Beaujolais wines should be drunk cool.
Main Types of Grape
Pinot Noir: used for the fine red wines of the Cote de Nuits and the Cote de Beaune.
Gamay: used for the light, fresh fruity wines of Beaujolais.