What better way to explore the Burgundy wine region in France, than by tasting the wine they produce?! This region is where Chardonnay and Pinot Noir originate. Burgundy produces world-class wine from top-notch Grand Cru classified wines down to their everyday Regionally classified wines.
We’ll explore Chardonnay produced across the different regions in Burgundy. By tasting them side-by-side, we’ll experience their similarities and differences. Then we’ll do the same with Pinot Noir.
To find out more about this region, hop over to this post: Exploring the Burgundy Wine Region. It’s a simple exploration of the region from understanding their wine classifications and how to read their wine labels to some simple tips for enjoying their wine. Then head on back here and set up the wine tasting!
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Tasting Chardonnay from Burgundy
This line up takes you through the 4 regions that produce White Burgundy (aka Chardonnay or Bourgogne Blanc). They are listed in geographical order from North to South. It includes wine from 3 of the 4 classifications: Premier Cru, Village, and Regional with an option to go for the granddaddy of them all -- Grand Cru.
For the budget-conscious among us (that’s usually me), stick with selection #1 Chablis and selection #4 Mâconnais – Pouilly-Fuissé. Chablis, from the coolest part of the region, and Pouilly-Fuissé, from the warmest, will give you a nice comparison of crisp and mineral to rich and fruity. Another benefit is accessibility, as you’ll be able to easily find them in restaurants and wine shops.
Rated 90 by Wine Spectator
This is a Village classified Chardonnay in the Chablis region. This Chablis matures in a combination of stainless steel tanks and old oak barrels. This means you won’t get the oaky, buttery flavors found in California Chardonnay. Since Chablis is the northernmost region in Burgundy, the wine will be light and crisp with citrusy notes. You’ll also taste a mineral salinity in the wine that comes from the unique, fossilized soil it grows in.
2) Côte de Beaune
Côte de Beaune is known for its Chardonnay (White Burgundy) and, most importantly, its Grand Cru classified Chardonnay. Grand Cru is the best of the best but is also very pricey. To keep our tasting affordable, I've selected a Regional classified White Burgundy.
If you’d like to try a Grand Cru Chardonnay, then I recommend Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2017. It’s reasonably priced for a Grand Cru at $175.
3) Côte Chalonnais
Rated 92 by James Suckling
Côte Chalonnais has a large number of Premier Cru classified vineyards and Louis Latour is one of the infamous names in the region. For eleven generations, the Latour family has been making world-class wine. Hard to imagine.
Pouilly-Fuissé is a village within the Mâconnais region and is a popular name to know for Village classified Chardonnay. Mâconnais is the southernmost region in Burgundy. This means the climate is warmer and the fruit gets riper, resulting in a full-bodied, rich, ripe fruit wine. This Chardonnay matures in a combination of stainless steel tanks and old oak barrels. Again, this wine won’t show the big oaky flavors often found in California Chardonnay.
Tasting Pinot Noir from Burgundy
This line up takes you through each of the 4 regions that produce Red Burgundy (aka Pinot Noir or Bourgogne Rouge). They are listed in geographical order from the north to the south. The selections include 3 of the 4 classifications: Premier Cru, Village, and Regional with an option to go for the ultimate -- Grand Cru.
For a more affordable tasting, stick with selection #4 Burgundy and selection #5 Beaujolais. The Burgundy selection is regional and is a great example of Pinot Noir from this region. Beaujolais is the wine made from Gamay grapes. This is even lighter than Pinot Noir and will make for an interesting comparison.
1) Côte de Nuit
Rated 92 by Robert Parker
This wine comes from the village of Nuits-St-Georges in the Côte de Nuit region of Burgundy. This is a Village classified wine and is a benchmark wine for the region. It showcases flavors of red fruit and fresh acidity.
Côte de Nuit is where you’ll find 34 of the 35 Grand Cru classified Pinot Noir. To include a Grand Cru in your tasting, try Domaine Drouhin-Laroze Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2012. It's priced at $150 and rated 94 by Burghound.com.
2) Côte de Beaune
Rated 92 by Decanter
This is a Premier Cru classified wine. Decanter explains that the winemaker blends Pinot Noir from 17 of the Premier Cru sites in the Côte de Beaune to produce this wine. This results in a wine that’s textured, floral, and sweet.
The “sweet” description may be misleading as this is a dry wine with no residual sugar. Many times, a sweet perception comes from the fruit flavors in the wine.
3) Côte Chalonnais
This wine contains grapes from the Village of Mercurey in the Côte Chalonnais region. This is a Village classified wine. The winemaker describes it as fruity with smooth silky tannins.
Rated 89 by Wilfred Wong
This is a Region classified wine which means it contains a blend of Pinot Noir grapes from across Burgundy. Wilfred Wong, a wine critic, says this wine provides excellent enjoyment at an affordable price. It delivers lovely ripe fruit flavors that stay nicely on the palate.
Rated 90 by Wine Enthusiast
Beaujolais is the southernmost region of Burgundy. This region is home to Gamay grapes. These red grapes produce a light red wine that’s even lighter in style than Pinot Noir. It’s the perfect entry point into red wine.
Burgundian Wine Tasting Summary
I really hope you enjoy exploring the wines of Burgundy, France. You can go all in, by trying wine from each region. Pull your wine loving friends together for the tasting and split the overall cost of the wine to make it more affordable. That way everyone will get to explore these world-class wines.
Share your Burgundy wine tasting experience with us by commenting below! Santé!