Wine terminology is a mystery to many, the term Burgundy or Bordeaux tend to be considered as actual wine or grape types, when in fact they both refer to large growing regions in France. TheBburgundy region is located a few hours southeast of Paris and continues south until the city of Lyon. There are six predominate regions within Burgundy which are then divided into hundreds of appellations. Burgundy wines range from white to rosé and red and are most commonly made from the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes.
Chablis is the northern most wine growing region in Burgundy and is famous for wines of of the same name ranging from Petit Chablis to Premier Cru and Grand Cru. The Yonne valley in the Chablis region has been producing wine as far back as the 12th century, making the aging process indisputable for alteration. Chablis is produced singularly from Chardonnay grape producing a dry, crisp yet bold white wine that advances in quality as it ages in the bottle.
Côte de Nuits
Moving south of Chablis in Burgundy is the region of Côte de Nuits. The region is located between the famous cities of Dijon and Nuits St. Georges. The Côte de Nuits region produces a variety of wines including whites produced from Chardonnay grapes and rosés and reds produced from Pinot Noir grapes. The region is most reputed for the deep red Pinot Noirs aged in oak barrels.
Côte de Beaune
The Côte de Beaune region in Burgundy is located between the towns of Ladoix in the North and Santenay in the south. The village of Beaune is was the the ancient capital of Burgundy during the middle ages and remains as the political wine center of Burgundy today. Côte de Beaune produces both crisp whites and full-bodied reds. The Côte de Beaune region produces some of the most famous white Burgundy including Meursault and Chassagne-Montrachet. Red wines are mostly produced in the southern regions near Santenay and are lighter, more floral-scented and mature faster than the deep reds from the Côte de Nuits region.
The Beaujolais region, resting under the Côte de Beaune encompassing the villages of Mâcon to Lyon, predominately produces red wines made from the Gamay grape. Wines from the Beaujolais region tend to be light with high acidity and few tannins. Beaujolais is fruity and is meant to be consumed young; as such, it is among some of the least expensive and easily palatable red wines produced in France.
South of Beaujolais is Côte Chalonnaise which is one of the largest regions in Burgundy resting between the towns of Chagny and Montagny. Côte Chalonnaise wines are predominately whites produced from Chardonnay grapes and reds produced from Pinot Noir, however, the region does produce Gamay and Aligoté for blending. The most famous Côte Chalonnaise wines are those produced in Mercurey, a small village to the north of the region. Mercurey reds are known for their full-bodied spiciness while the rare Mercurey whites are uncommonly meant to be consumed young.
The southern most region in Burgundy is the Mâconnais located around the city of Mâcon. The regional wines are predominately white made from the Chardonnay grape. The best known appellation in the Mâconnais region is Pouilly-Fuissé, a dry soft white wine. Wines from the region tend to be more affordable than most other Burgundy regions and are therefore one of the most consumed both in France and around the world.