Basis of the originality of the Burgundy's vines
The lands, in Burgundy, is the basis of the Designation of Origin.
In Burgundy, the notion of lands is a wide concept which incorporate natural and humain factors in the same time. Indeed, those are the vinemakers, sometimes helped by the monks'work, who had discovered, identified then highlighted the lands. To achieve this aim, many centuries of labour were required in order to make this concept (of which origin dates back to the Middle Ages ) travel through time and be recognized and described in the middle of the last century with the creation of the I.N.A.O. and the designation of origin.
Nowadays, after more than 1000 years, the land continue to assert itself in Burgundy as a modern concept dupplicated in the entire world because it represents and convey original, authentical, traditionnal and typical values, dear to the consumers.
The land's basis is first of all composed of the basement and the soil in which the vine draw its nutritive substances and compose the secret alchemy of color, aroma and flavour.
In Burgundy, geological origin and the physicochemical composition of the soils are very diversified and differ according the vineyards but also within the same vineyard, village and locality.This is why the Burgundian vineyard is presented as the form of a huge mosaic composed by thousands of plots ( here called "climats"), mostly smaller (The Romanée is the smallest appellation of the world with 0,8 hectare).
In despite of this soils diversity, Burgundy own a certain degree of geological and pedological unity from the North to the South: sedimentary soils composed of clay, marl, and limestones, deposited 150 millions years ago during the Jurassic period on another substrate much more older (250 millions years ago) composed of granit, lavas, gneisses and various shales. The alteration of the marine sedimentary rocks is consequently at the root of the clay-limestone soils on which the Burgundians varieties found their means of expression.
The Pinot Noir appreciate the marl soils rather chalky and well-drained on which, according the limestone proportion and the situation of the plot, it will give a light and elegant red wine or a powerful and full-bodied wine.
The chardonnay prefers the limestone clay soils rather clayey where it flourish the elegance and the finesse of its aromas. This is the soil's clay proportion which determinate the style more or less aromatic and wide of the great Burgundy dry white wines.
If the nature of the soil is the key element of the land, many others natural factors have an influence on the quality, the particular character and the expression of a wine : the exposure of the plot, its altitude, the depth and the drainage of the soil, the weather conditions of the year, the microclimate
Finally, the Man role is essential in a wine production: in the vine, according the choice and the farming methods application, from the cut to the harvest, and in the cellar during the winemaking and wine's maturing processes.
Understand the AOC
Burgundy is famous for its prestigious original designations of origin (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée). Burgundy contains an exceptionnal natural conditions of production diversity thanks to what we can find today a wide diversity of AOC.
What is an AOC more precisely?
It is a sign of quality, guarantor of the products characteristics, which are: the origins of the land, which formed the designations basis in the classification mode, the methods of production, the product history and the producer's know-how.
Every AOC is submitted to a careful inspection on every step of the production and of the marketing.
Burgundy dispose of 100 appellations, in more than 477 in France, which are distributed on 4 appellations levels:
- Regional appellations: they are 23, these one are harvested accross the wine-growing territory of Burgundy (ex : Bourgogne Aligoté)
- The Villages appellations: they are currently 44, the wine is produced on the municipality of the wine-growing territory (villages) which name them (ex : Chablis, Pommard)
- The 'Premiers Crus' appellations : the wines are produced on precisely delimited plots called « climats » within a village. Burgundy own 684 climats. On the bottles, the name of the municipality is followed by the name of the plot of which the wine is derived (ex : Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains)
- The 'Grand Cru' appellations: these wines are produced in the best plots (climats) of the municipality. We can find 33 Grands Crus. They express and concentrate all the richness of their unique land. Here the name of the municipality disapear for the benefit of the land's name sometimes limited (ex : Corton, Montrachet).
These appellations are grouped on the Burgundian vinemaker who dispose of a 27 636 hectares production surface (3% of the French Vineyard) :
- 61% are white wines
- 31% are red wines (or rosés wines)
- 8% are Crémants