Scratching the Surface on White Burgundy

I am sure this post does not come as a surprise to those that have been actively following the blog. White Burgundy has been on the investment list for at least half a year now. So we have been studying and looking up some options from the monopoly here in Sweden as well as London wine shops. We will be visiting our former home city in March and the wine-sleeves are coming along. Lets see if there will be another record (34 bottles in check-in luggage is hard to beat). Always when I do some reading, I also collect some highlights to share on the blog. So here is a scratch on the surface of white Burgundy. 

Burgundy is perhaps mostly known for its dry red wines (Pinot Noir). But there is an interesting side-show going on in the production of white wine, especially Chardonnay. Many producers that focus on red, also make a high quality white that does not carry the same price tag.

As a wine region Bourgogne is extremely terroir-oriented. High emphasis is paid on the area of origin and type of soil. There is around 150 different appellations in Burgundy. The classification for the wine is rewarded based on geography. A specific vineyard, village or region will carry a classification regardless of the producer (as opposed to Bordeaux, which is producer driven). The main levels in Burgundy are divided into Grand Crus, Premiere Crus, village appellations and regional appellation. The most commonly used white grape is Chardonnay. However there is some Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Aligoté grown in the region.

Translating the classification into the white burgundy market we can come to the following division. Bourgogne Blanc is the most common of all the Burgundy whites. In a Bourgogne Blanc, one can use grapes from anywhere in the region. The wines are easy-drinking and fresh with apple and citrus notes and a slightly salty and nutty quality. A Bourgogne blanc almost never sees oak. They are perfect as hot summer “thirst wines”and also affordable.

Chablis is the northern most region in Burgundy, and therefore the coldest. The wines are fresh with lime zest, green apple and quince. Chablis are also very light with oak (or no oak at all). Combined with chalky soil, chablis wines are often crispy and minerally.

Maconnais is the southern most area in Burgundy. The warm climate produces richer and fuller wines than Chablis . The wines are usually unaoked and tropical with pineapple, honeydew and starfruit notes.

The most powerful of white Burgundy’s come from Côte de Beaune, the Beverly Hills of burgundy production. The wines have in general seen more oak than is common with white burgundy. The Grand Crus have a longer aging and are in general recommended to drink after 4-10 years. The taste profile is powerful with ripe apple, pear and plump. There are also fresh notes of mushroom and truffle.

So that was a short introduction to white burgundy: region, classification and type of wines. There is so much more that I could write about, but I would perhaps bore you to death, so I will leave it here. Perhaps also worth mentioning that the vintage 2010 is something worth checking out. Wine Folly described it as epic for Côte du Beaune wines. So you know what I will do after this…go and browse the monopoly selection of course.

Have a good weekend!

xx Soile

 

 

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