The top 10 Facts & Figures about the Burgundy wine region
69.190 acres of vines
Burgundy represents 69,190 acres of vines with 84 appellations, divided into four classifications: Regional, Village, 1er Cru and Grand Cru.
There are 5 viticultural areas in Burgundy:
Côte de Nuits
Côte de Beaune
5 viticultural areas
33 Grands Crus
There are 33 Grands Crus in Burgundy, the majority of which are in Côte de Nuits:
♦ Chablis ♦ Chambertin
♦ Chambertin-clos de Bèze
♦ Ruchottes-Chambertin ♦ Bonnes Mares
♦ Clos de la Roche
♦ Clos de Tart
♦ Clos des Lambrays
♦ Clos St Denis ♦ Musigny ♦ Clos de Vougeot ♦ Romanée-Conti
♦ La Romanée
♦ La Tache
♦ La Grande Rue
♦ Romanée-St-Vivant ♦ Echezeaux
♦ Grands Echezeaux ♦ Corton
♦ Corton-Charlemagne ♦ Montrachet
♦ Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet ♦ Criots-Batard-Montrachet
"In Burgundy, when we talk about a climat, we do not raise our eyes to the sky, we lower them to the ground." By saying this, the writer and journalist Bernard Pivot illustrates a characteristic of the Burgundy vineyards that cannot be found anywhere else: Climats. A bit misleading, as this term does not refer to the weather, but to single vineyard plots, carefully delineated according to specific criteria (history, soil, subsoil, geo-location, micro-climate).
Most renowned grape is the Pinot Noir
Any self-respecting Burgundy wine lover knows that most Burgundy red wines are made from Pinot Noir. But for a long time, Gamay was the most planted grape in Burgundy until Duke Philip of Burgundy, nicknamed "Philippe Le Hardi", gets involved. Anxious to restore the coat of arms to Burgundy wines, the duke wrote an edict in 1395 ordering the removal of the Gamay vines in favor of Pinot Noir, a grape variety much less known to the general public at the time and capable of producing more complex wines.
But, despite the ban, the inhabitants of Burgundy hung onto to Gamay, which reappeared gradually in the vineyards. This continued until 1935, when Burgundy obtained the label of Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) and when the territories are completely reorganized. The Gamay was then transferred to its neighboring wine region of Beaujolais and officially replaced by Pinot Noir.
It is in Burgundy that two of the greatest abbeys were founded and would then gain rule over Christendom. The one of Cluny, founded in 910, knew an unprecedented influence, materialized by an architectural ensemble never equaled in astonishing spiritual and temporal power.
But in 1098 a handful of monks left the Abbey of Molesmes, at the limit of the Yonne and Côte-d'Or, to build further to the south, in the clearing of Cîteaux, a wooden abbey where they were able to live according to the rule of Saint Benedict, in the spirit of poverty and prayer as an antithesis to the splendor of Cluny. The Cistercian order is born. The austerity of the Cistercians is also reflected in the abbey’s architecture.
Cluny Abbey founded in 910
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Hospices de Beaune
Every year, professionals in the wine world, as well as wine lovers, gather in Burgundy to witness what has become, in the space of more than 155 years, one of the most important events in the world of wine: the Hospices de Beaune. This large annual auction offers wines from the AOC Côte de Beaune, produced in vineyards owned by a hospital whose construction dates back to.... 1443!
At the time the Chancellor to the Duke of Burgundy, Nicolas Rolin, decided to build an establishment to house the homeless of Beaune who had no resources, creating the Hospices de Beaune. In addition to its exceptional Gothic architectural style, the establishment owns a vineyard already at the time of its opening. A first in France! The vineyards of the Hospices de Beaune will grow over time, thanks to financial support and vineyard donations.
The 155th auction of the Hospices de Beaune took place in November 2015, with Claire Chazal and Christophe Lambert as honorary presidents. It generated the sum of 10,156,644€. This profit was donated to the hospital, the Institut Curie, and the AVC Foundation. This event occurs every year, on the third weekend of November.
One of the ways created to help promote the wines of Burgundy are celebrations organized by the brotherhood of the Chevaliers du Tastevin of the Clos de Vougeot. In the 1930s winemakers were no longer able to sell their wines, hence this brilliant idea by a few winemakers: to invite the whole world to come and taste them at the Château du Clos de Vougeot, accompanied by the brotherhood of the Tastevin Knights.
It meets at the top of Vougeot at banquets called chapitres. The brotherhood is dressed in purple and gold in Rabelaisian fashion, and receives a diversity of honorable personalities from the political, literary, artistic and scientific worlds. These guests are inducted to the brotherhood after a ritual and burlesque ceremony, during which they learn about their duties as future knights.
The brotherhood of the Knights of the Tastevin
glazed tile roofs
The glazed tile roofs with geometric patterns are an integral part of the Burgundy landscape. These tiles adorn both religious and civil buildings since the splendid time of the Dukes of Burgundy…
The most famous of these buildings is the Hôtel-Dieu of Beaune, built by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor of Philippe le Bon. There is also the Hotel de Vogüé in Dijon and the castle of La Rochepot. This type of decoration was allowed to indicate as a symbolic, political or religious message, the social status, even the reputation, of a man or a community.
Mustard is linked to Dijon thanks to the Dukes of Burgundy. Mustard arrived in France in the 14th century, and more precisely on the occasion of the festivities of Rouvres organized by the Dukes of Burgundy. Thanks to the dukes it becomes noble and synonymous with wealth.
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