Updated: Oct 3, 2020
Travel Southeast of Paris and you’ll arrive in Chablis, one of the regions within Burgundy. Continue on to the East and you’ll find the remaining regions lined up from North to South: Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnais, Mâconnais, and Beaujolais.
These regions are the preeminent growing grounds for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. These noble grapes originated in Burgundy and have been grown here for centuries.
Climate and Soil in Burgundy
This region enjoys a cool climate that’s perfect for these two noble grapes. Keep this in mind and look for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from other cool climate regions like Oregon, Washington, California’s Russian River Valley, and New Zealand’s South Island.
The terrain is made up of sloping hills and valleys that contain a mixture of limestone, clay, and gravel. The tops of the hills are predominantly limestone which Chardonnay vines love. Moving down the slopes, the soil becomes more clay predominant which Pinot Noir vines love.
Classifications and Labeling in Burgundy
There are four wine classifications: Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Village, and Regional. These classifications are based on plots of land (aka climat) that were identified way back in medieval times.
You’ll find Grand Cru classified grape vines running along the middle of the hillsides, while Premier Cru grows along the tops and bottoms of the slopes. The Village and Regional classified vines grow upon the valley floor.