As you will see, we are changing our Precious Advice formula somewhat. Every Tuesday, you will receive articles from our bloggers. Pasquale Charland will take you on a journey with her photos and her encounters in the wine world. Baptiste Gissinger joins us for the spirits section, you can follow his distilled adventures around the world. On Thursdays, my article will always focus on wines, in connection with the Tuesday blog. I will also make suggestions on the subject, in order to explore and better understand the world of wine. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your comments and for your diligent reading. Cheers!
Burgundy’s production represents 3% of the total French vineyard, but its bottles certainly make the whole world dream. This is not new, because the cultivation of the vine dates back to the know-how of the monastic communities of the Middle Ages. Archaeological digs have even confirmed the presence of vines dating back to the 4th century in this French region.
Burgundy is the preferred terroir for Pinot noir and Chardonnay, not to mention Gamay and Aligoté, which complement the authorized grape varietals. The predominance of Pinot noir comes from the will of the Dukes of Burgundy, including Philippe le Hardi, to eliminate the Gamay varietal. The latter was considered “unfair” for quality criteria at the time and also because it resisted better than Pinot noir to an insect that devoured the vines.
The region is spread from north to south over 150 km, from Chablis to Mâconnais, passing through the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune regions. Far north, the Chablis vineyard benefits from this freshness, which also has its share of disadvantages, because the buds sometimes suffer from freezing temperatures and hail at the beginning of the season. This was notably the case for the 2016 and 2017 vintages, with the freezing temperatures having catastrophic effects on the quantity of grapes produced. Slightly further south, the Côte de Nuit is the Pinot noir paradise, resulting in a production of mainly red wines. The great crus are mythical such as Romanée-Conti, Chambertin and Clos de Vougeot. The Côte de Beaune is available in both white and red, with wines of character such as Corton, Montrachet and Meursault. Completely to the south, the Mâconnais is dominated by Chardonnay at 80%, leaving a small place for Gamay (this region did not belong to the Dukes of Burgundy!). There are many regional appellations such as Mâcon, but also village appellations such as Pouilly-Fuissé and Saint-Véran.
One of the characteristics of this region is the use of the term Climate. In Burgundy, a “Climat” is a delimited parcel of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune regions. Climates are the result of the know-how and the natural conditions based on several factors, including geology and hydrography. Considered as the flagships of local vineyards, they are now listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 2015.
Burgundy is above all a family story, with a usual transfer of ownership to children over several generations. Annually, only 1.5% of the total vineyard is sold outside the family. The problem comes from the infernal speculation that Burgundy vines are suffering from. For the past 10 years, the soaring prices have meant that when it comes to settling the succession, heirs are often unable to pay the associated fees, forcing them to sell their most beautiful parcels. The evaluation of each hectare has tripled and, depending on the location, is now worth 10 times more than a decade ago. Americans and Chinese then fought over the properties for sale, raising the auction to 220 million euros in 2017 for the Clos de Tart, which equates to more than 42 million dollars per ha (100 meters per 100 meters) which is the equivalent of a professional soccer field and a half!
Here are a few suggestions to truly “taste” this region:
La Chablisienne Chablis La Sereine
White wine, 750 ml
Code SAQ : 00565598 | Regular price : 23,25 $
Bouchard Père & Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 2016
Red wine, 750 ml
Code SAQ : 00918284 | Regular price : 61,75 $
Domaine Xavier Monnot Pommard Les Vignots 2016
Red wine, 750 ml
Code SAQ : 14088111 | Regular price : 77,25 $
Château De Chamirey Mercurey 2017
Red wine, 750 ml
Code SAQ : 00962589 | Regular price : 29,85 $