RED BURGUNDY: A WINE WITH CLASS THAT SHOULD ALWAYS BE ON YOUR WINE RACK
The Burgundy vineyard is a wine-growing region of France located in Burgundy-Franche-Comte in the departments of Yonne, Cote-d'Or and Saone-et-Loire. Burgundy majorly produces red wines, based on Pinot noir and Gamay grapes. The Burgundy vineyard includes 84 controlled appellations of origin (AOC): 6 "regional" appellations, 45 “village or communal” appellations and 33 "Grand Cru” " appellations.
Burgundy classifies its wines according to a four-level hierarchy. At the base are the regional appellations, whose wines can be made from vines established throughout Burgundy. Then come the communal appellations or villages: the wine bears the name of the commune (one or more villages) where the vines from which it comes are planted. After, we find the premier cru from climates defined within a village. Finally, at the very top of the pyramid, there is the grand cru, selected from the best climates.
Grape varieties of the Red Burgundy
The earth, soil, exposure, the grapes itself gives the Red wines from Burgundy their character.
Pinot noir produces the best red wines from Burgundy, known for their aromas of red fruit and spices.
Red wine is produced majorly from pinot noir; a grape that is challenging to grow, It can only grow in the cooler wine regions.
It is known worldwide as an inconsistent and challenging grape variety and local cultivation probably explains its good adaptation to Burgundy conditions. With their features of thin-skinned, early ripening; burgundy is the home of pinot noir.
It is a delicate grape variety which is sensitive to diseases.
Unlike other grapes, pinot noir expression changes depending on where it is grown, the best pinot wines are obtained in the chalky, well-drained hillside soils and in temperate climates; while acid and clay soils produce common wines.
Cotes de Nuits, Cotes de Beaune, and Chalonnaise are the most important and finest vineyards for cultivating pinot noir. The pinot noir in Cotes de Nuit is more structured, full-bodied and powerful.
Most of the red Grand Cru is located in the Cote de Nuit. No other region can attain the elegance and finesse of the pinot noir made from burgundy.
This variety, which requires careful disbudding, tends to produce a large number of grapes. The wines have a colour that is not very intense but is likely to last over time.
They are moderately tannic and naturally contain between ten and twelve degrees of alcohol. They can be kept for five to twelve years, sometimes longer. Their potential for ageing varies according to the vintage and the vineyard of origin.
Gamay is also very present in Burgundy. It is the exclusive grape variety of the red Beaujolais.
Gamay Noir is a weak, but fertile grape variety whose production must be controlled because it tends to run out.
The best Gamay wines are obtained, unlike Pinot Noir, on acidic and granitic soils. In the Cote-d'Or, its best development conditions are found in the deep clayey, sometimes decarbonated soils that line the foothills towards the plain and in which it is more successful than pinot noir.
Gamay wine has a red colour with a hint of violet, it is low in tannins and reveals good acidity. It generally has a fruity character (red fruits, black fruits) but expresses little aromatic complexity. It does not improve with age, with the exception of the particular terroirs of Beaujolais wines, but keeps well for a year or two.
Burgundy with its singular focus on benchmark grapes and single vineyard expression is the model for prestigious wines around the world.
The grapes are harvested at maturity and either manually or mechanically. The manual harvest is most often sorted, either in the vineyard or in the cellar with a sorting table, which makes it possible to remove rotten or insufficiently ripe bunches.
The manual harvest is generally destemmed and then put into vats. Cold pre-fermentation maceration is sometimes used and corresponds to a traditional process. Alcoholic fermentation can start, usually after yeasting.
Chaptalization is carried out if the natural sugar level is insufficient: this practice is regulated. At the end of the alcoholic fermentation, a post-fermentation maceration of one to three weeks can be carried out, then follows the vatting operation which presses the wine.
Traditionally, malolactic fermentation is carried out in wood barrels: it is said that the wines are sold "hot" in barrels. This difference in the use of wood gives Burgundy wines a woody character that is probably better integrated with the wine.
Burgundy is one of the few old world wine regions that rely on the use of new oak barrels to define its style.
After racking, the wine is matured for several months, then fined, filtered and bottled.
What should we open them with?
Red Burgundy is one of the most versatile and food-friendly red wines. They pair well with mild cheeses, chicken or rabbit with a creamy sauce, game dishes or beef, duck, grilled salmon or tuna, mushroom, lamb, pork and so many other dishes.
Depending on the vineyards, the serving temperature of Red burgundy differs.
- Cotes de Nuit: between 15°C to 17 °C
- Cotes de Beaune: between 13°C to 14°C
- Chalonnaise: between 13 °C to 14°C.
The change in climate
Global warming has helped to achieve a more great level of ripeness of the grapes. It is a little warmer than it used to be, now there are enough mature fruits in the wines. This is known and seen as a positive evolution in the red wines from Burgundy so far. But if global warming increases, it might pose a potential threat for the yield of future grapes.
The misconception about the price of Red Burgundy
It is very possible to find quality and value in Burgundy. So many people think that the only very good burgundy wine is the most expensive ones. In Burgundy, there is also some village appellation at a very reasonable price.
→ Vinatis offers you a wide range of Red wines from Burgundy depending on your taste and budget.