Understanding the Wine Region

Introduction to the Burgundy Wine Region

wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France

Wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France.

The Burgundy wine region, known as Bourgogne in French, is one of the world's most renowned wine regions. Located in the eastern part of central France, it stretches from Dijon in the north to Mâcon in the south, covering a distance of approximately 175 miles.

Burgundy is revered for its rich history, unique terroir, and the exceptional quality of its wines. The region is home to some of the most expensive wines in the world, but it also produces more affordable options that offer excellent value.

Importance of Burgundy in the Global Wine Industry

Burgundy holds a significant place in the global wine industry. It is the birthplace of two of the most popular grape varieties: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These grapes, originally cultivated in Burgundy, are now grown in wine regions all over the world.

The region is also known for its rigorous classification system, which has been a model for many other wine regions. The Burgundy wine classification system is based on the concept of "terroir" - the idea that the land where the grapes are grown imparts unique qualities to the wine.

Understanding the Concept of 'Terroir'

The term 'terroir' is a French word that has no direct translation in English. It refers to the combination of factors, including soil, climate, and sunlight, that gives wine its character. In Burgundy, the concept of terroir is taken very seriously.

Burgundy is divided into a patchwork of parcels of land, known as "climats". Each climat has a distinct terroir, and even small differences in terroir can have a significant impact on the taste of the wine. This is why Burgundy produces such a wide variety of wines, despite primarily using only two grape varieties.

In the next unit, we will delve deeper into the geography and climate of Burgundy, and how these factors contribute to the region's unique terroir.