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Bonjour Bourgogne!

Imagine grand châteaux, wine vineyards, limestone cliffs, intriguing caves, the Morvan National Park, Forest des Bertranges, picturesque rivers and canals, and you have arrived in Bourgogne, aka Burgundy. 

Photo credit: French Entree
To begin, Bourgogne is the French name for Burgundy. According to the Bourgogne Wines Board, “To re-affirm its identity as one of the most iconic vineyards of France, the region and its producers are reverting to the original French iteration of its name - Bourgogne. By maintaining this one identity, Bourgogne returns to its historical roots as the consummate brand treasured by consumers the world over.”

Located in the east-central part of France with over 74,000 acres of vineyards, Bourgogne is recognized worldwide and is considered the classic region for growing and producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The region is made up of five major growing areas each with its own unique climate and soil as represented on the map below.

Map credit: Burgundy Today

Chablis is to the north with a cool continental climate and as we move south the climate is predominantly moderate continental. The soil types vary and can change significantly over small areas due to small geological faults, combined with gradual erosion. It is important to note that limestone is the primary soil that influences the character and quality of Bourgogne wines in addition to the microclimate and grape variety.

Bourgogne has a very complex and quite comprehensive classification system. There are 84 Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée (AOCs) throughout Bourgogne and four levels (classifications) of wine within the region starting with Regional, Village/Communal, Premier Cru and ending with Grand Cru. The regulations become stricter and pricing increases as you advance up the levels. 

Within the Bourgogne AOC, the Régionale appellations have their own geographic denominations with one of them being DGC (dénomination géographique complémentaire.) DGC wines have more restrictive production conditions than those of Régionale appellations without a denomination.  There are 14 DGCs of the Bourgogne appellation with their own levels as well. Did I mention a complex system? Are you confused yet?  I certainly am! So, let’s move on and dive into four wines representing the Bourgogne DGC appellation.

Domaine Olivier Morin Bourgogne Chitry Blanc Constance 2017
Domaine Olivier Morin is located in the medieval town of Chitry-le-Fort, which is just a few miles from Chablis. This six-acre estate is part of the Bourgogne Chitry AOC appellation. Chalky, Kimmeridgian limestone soil dominates the vineyards mirroring the terroir of Chablis with vines ranging from 10 to 25 years old.

Photo credit:  Penny Weiss
This unoaked 100% Chardonnay is dry, light and refreshing. It was aged for one year in stainless steel tanks and bottled unfiltered. This wine has a pale straw color with a slightly green hue. A lovely bouquet of floral, citrus and minerality lead to green apple, white flowers and citrus on the palate.  Bright acidity, minerality and a burst of lime zest on the finish give this wine a lot of character. Serve as an aperitif or with seafood and light pasta dishes.

Alcohol:  12.5%
SRP:  $21

Olivier Merlin Mâcon Blanc La Roche Vineuse 2016
Domaine Merlin is located in the village of La Roche-Vineuse at the foot of the Mâconnaise rocks in southern Burgundy. Mâconnaise wine region is about 150 miles south of Chablis and is warmer than the rest of Burgundy. The wines tend to be fuller and the fruit riper.  Grapes for this wine were hand-harvested from vines growing in clay limestone of the Quaternary (soil dating back millions of years ago during the Jurassic period).

Photo credit: Penny Weiss
This wine is 100% Chardonnay and was aged for 15 months. Ten percent was aged in older Burgundian barrels and the rest aged in stainless steel tanks. The wine was slightly filtered before bottling. The color of the wine is soft yellow with intriguing aromas of floral mixed with minerality and exotic fruit. This is a dry, crisp wine that is loaded with treats for the palate. It is fresh and juicy with white peach, pineapple, citrus, a trace of fennel and a lengthy candy apple finish. Serve as an aperitif or pair with seafood, grilled veggies and light pasta.

Alcohol:  13%
SRP:  $23

Dominique Cornin Mâcon Chaintré 2016
Cornin Vignerons is located in the Mâcon Chaintré appellation. The grapes for this wine were hand-harvested and organically farmed from different plots situated at the foothills of Chaintré. Vines were planted between 1968-1985 in soil of clay limestone beaded with fluvial pebbles. This wine was aged in vats on fine lees for 11 months.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss
This is 100% Chardonnay with a light yellow color. Notes of acacia, citrus and melon on the nose segue onto the palate with honeydew melon, apple and a trace of anise. This wine is a delightful dance on the palate and beautifully balanced between acidity and alcohol. I am including the winemaker’s description because it is so poetic! “We bite into a Chaintré like a green apple, using all our teeth! It is juicy and refreshing. We bite and we are bitten by its charm, put under a spell by its exuberant nose and dashing white flower, fresh fruit and citrus zest aromas. A glass of Chaintré in hand is a flower on a lapel, a crisp water colour, it’s spring weather that warms life. A glass of happiness, carefree and hopeful…”  Drink as an aperitif or serve with light fare.

Alcohol:  13%
SRP:  $25

Vigneron de Buxy Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise Buissonnier Rouge 2015
Cave des Vigneron de Buxy is a collective initiative comprised of 120 winegrowers and family farms.  They are located in the Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise regional appellation. The boundaries extend from Montagny in the south up to Chagny in the north, ending just south of Côte d’Or.


The grapes for this wine were selected from plots located in the middle of hillsides with shallow soils of clay and limestone with very stony grounds. Vinification takes place in stainless steel vats and then in casks or oak casks. Duration of aging in wood is dependent on the vintage.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss
This is 100% Pinot Noir with a dark ruby color bordering on brick.  Succulent aromas of berries, cherry and spice spill onto the palate with bursts of dark cherry, rich and jammy fruit, spice and earth followed by a finale of pepper and vanilla. It is a perfect balance between the acidity and soft tannins. Pair with game, meat, grilled tuna and veggies.

Alcohol:  13%
SRP:  $16.99

These are considered entry-level wines, but they are complex, refined and quite enticing.  And they undeniably represent the terroir of Bourgogne.  It just goes to show you that one doesn’t have to spend a fortune to indulge in the wines of Bourgogne!

Until next time…

Cheers!
Penny

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