Viticulture arrived in Burgundy before the start of the Christian era but developed mainly under the Roman occupation. The rise of Cluny and the monastic orders in the 10th century led to the growth of winemaking and, in the Middle Ages, the power of the duchy of Burgundy favoured its production. Originally monastic and aristocratic, during the 19th century, winemaking became bourgeois and popular. Located in the centre-east part of France, Burgundy extends over 300 km. Known as the land of small landowners, where the average domain never exceeds ten hectares, it produces many treasures. The limestone subsoil is covered on the surface by hillsides where the vines grow.
The vineyard has two grape varieties: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. With delicate vinification, Pinot Noir produces subtle and smooth red wines with notes of red fruit. It turns out to be quite tricky to vinify this grape variety in order to have sufficient aromas, colours and tannins, especially since the northern climate sometimes prevents the full maturation of the berries. Chardonnay, used for Burgundy white wine, gives very different results depending on the vinification and terroirs. Less demanding in production than for red wines, Chardonnay produces complex and concentrated wines. A fine white Burgundy will be ample, with honey and hazelnut notes. The Aligoté grape produces Burgundy Aligoté, a lively and easy-to-drink white wine. Crémant de Bourgogne made mainly from Chardonnay, is an effervescent wine, fermented in the bottle.
Burgundy wines are classified into four major categories. The grands crus, gathering 33 A.O.C., are 2% of total production. The premiers crus for 561 climats represent 12% of total production. Certain climats are indeed entitled to the name premier crus. Village-appellations group the A.O.C. from the name of the village or can include several communes such as Chablis. Regional appellations regroup 22 regional A.O.C. and 50% red wines.Burgundy wines
The Côte d'Or, split in the middle by Beaune, includes two main wine-producing areas: the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune.
This vineyard, long unknown, owes its name to its proximity with Châlon-sur-Saône. Located between Chagny and Saint-Gengoux-le-National (Saône et Loire), it spreads over 44 communes, in the natural extension of the Côte de Beaune, with the same soil, cultivation and vinification methods, and commercial traditions. The climat is somewhat drier than in Côte d'Or and the best hillsides are protected from frost and hail. The soil is made of a limestone rock covered with clay sands. This vineyard mainly includes 5 A.O.C.: Rully, Mercurey, Givry, Montagny (only in white) and Burgundy Côte Chalonnaise (since 1990). The grape varieties used are those of the Côte d'Or: Chardonnay for white wines and Pinot Noir for red wines.
Located halfway between Lyon and Beaune, on the southern tip of Burgundy, this vast vineyard enjoys a more southerly climate than the rest of the region. The rather complex subsoil has many fault lines. Very chalky, it suits perfectly Chardonnay but it also includes granitic areas, ideal for Gamay culture. This wine-growing region produces red and white wines. The red wines produced mainly from Gamay and Pinot Noir are red Mâcon and Burgundy. The white wines, mostly made with Chardonnay, are mainly from Mâcon, Saint Véran and the famous Pouilly-Fuissé, the glory of the Mâconnais, which should not be confused with Pouilly Fumé, a wine from the Loire valley.