Burgundy Wine Regions Guide

Where Tradition Meets Innovation in the World's Most Diverse Wine Region


Last updated: March 18, 2024


The term Burgundy is astonishingly misleading: this is an extremely fragmented region, with numerous appellations (over 70), subregions, and terroirs. It is the least unified – and consistent – vineyard on earth. Yet we continue to assign the catch-all term ‘Burgundy’ to this complex web of soils and microclimates. Why? Perhaps it is because we associate the broader region with two (and only two) key grape varieties: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Red Burgundy from the Côte d’Or, solely based on the Pinot Noir grape, should dazzle us with its perfume, complexity, and finesse rather than power and concentration. White Burgundy is almost exclusively based on Chardonnay. It should express complexity in aroma and flavor, be it minerally, buttery, and nutty, and have depth, structure, and a moreish quality. Oenophiles have adored these wines since Thomas Jefferson wrote enthusiastically about Montrachet in the 1700s.

However, despite its great heritage, Burgundy willingly adapts to modern times, ensuring a balance between the twin virtues of tradition and innovation. Younger, highly trained, and talented winemakers have played a major part in transforming quality in this most complex and magical of France’s wine regions. The organic and biodynamic movement, adopted by such luminaries as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, is growing at a substantial pace as growers reject synthetic inputs for a more sustainable approach. But, in conjunction with modernity comes the ancient notion of terroir, where subtle differences of climate, soil composition, and aspect identified over centuries and expressed in individual climats (vineyard sites) make this region so fascinating. You could spend a lifetime studying these ancient soils and still find unanswerable questions. That is the inimitable allure of Burgundy: the world’s most diverse wine region.

Burgundy Wine Regions Map

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James lawrence

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