Monks and monasteries of the Roman Catholic Church have had an crucial influence on the history of Burgundy wine. The very first known donation of a vineyard to the church was by king Guntram in 587, but the influence of the church became critical in Charlemagne’s era. The Benedictines, through their Abbey of Cluny founded in 910, became the very first genuinely big Burgundy vineyard owner over the following centuries. One more order which exerted influence was the Cistercians, founded in 1098 and named right after Cîteaux, their first monastery, situated in Burgundy. The Cistercians created Burgundy’s largest wall-surrounded vineyard, the Clos de Vougeot, in 1336. Much more importantly, the Cistercians, extensive vineyard owners as they were, were the first to notice that distinct vineyard plots gave consistently various wines. They consequently laid the earliest foundation for the naming of Burgundy crus and the region’s terroir thinking.
Because Burgundy is land-locked, very small of its wines left the region in Medieval times, when wine was transported in barrels, meaning that waterways provided the only practical indicates of long-range transportation. The only part of Burgundy which could reach Paris in a practical way was the area around Auxerre by indicates of the Yonne River. This area includes Chablis, but had a lot more extensive vineyards up until the 19th century. These had been the wines referred to as vin de Bourgogne in early texts. The wines from Côte d’Or would then be known as (vin de) Beaune. These wines initial became famous within the 14th century, in the course of the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy in Avignon, which was reachable by rivers Saône and Rhône following some overland transport. In the extravagance of the papal court, “Beaune” was generally seen as the finest wine, and better than anything that was available in Rome at that time.
Burgundy is in some methods one of the most terroir-oriented region in France; immense attention is paid to the region of origin, and in which of the region’s 400 types of soil a wine’s grapes are grown. As opposed to Bordeaux, where classifications are producer-driven and awarded to individual chateaux, Burgundy classifications are geographically-focused. A distinct vineyard or region will bear a given classification, regardless of the wine’s producer. This focus is reflected on the wine’s labels where appellations are most prominent and producer’s names frequently appear at the bottom in a lot smaller text.
The primary levels inside the Burgundy classifications, in descending order of quality, are:
Grand crus, Premier crus, village appellations, and finally regional appellations: Grand Cru wines are produced from the modest number of the very best vineyard internet sites in the Côte d’Or, as strictly defined by the AOC laws. Grand Cru wines make up 2% of the production at 35 hectoliters per hectare. These wines are normally produced in a style meant for cellaring, and typically have to be aged a minimum of 5-7 years. The very best examples might be kept for far more than 15 years. Grand Cru wines will only list the name of the vineyard as the appellation – like Corton or Montrachet – on the wine label, plus the Grand Cru term, but not the village name.
Premier Cru wines are produced from particular vineyard web sites that are still regarded as to be of high quality, but not as well regarded as the Grand Cru internet sites. Premier Cru wines make up 12% of production at 45 hectoliters/hectare. These wines typically should be aged 3-5 years, and again the most beneficial wines can keep for much longer. Premier Cru wines are labelled with the name of the village of origin, the Premier cru status, and generally the vineyard name, for instance, “Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets”. Some Premier Cru wines are produced from a number of Premier Cru vineyards in the exact same village, and don’t carry the name of an individual vineyard.
Village appellation wines are produced from a blend of wines from supposedly lesser vineyard internet sites inside the boundaries of 1 of 42 villages, or from 1 individual but non-classified vineyard. Wines from each different village are regarded as to have their own distinct qualities and characteristics, and not all Burgundy communes have a village appellation. Village wines make up 36% of production at 50 hectoliters/hectare. These wines may be consumed 2-4 years right after the release date, though once more some examples will keep for longer. Village wines will show the village name on the wine label, such as “Pommard”, and at times – if applicable – the name of the single vineyard or climat where it was sourced.
Several villages in Burgundy have appended the names of their Grand Cru vineyards to the original village name – hence village names for example “Puligny-Montrachet” and “Aloxe-Corton”. Regional appellation wines are wines which are allowed to be produced over the entire region, or over an area substantially larger than that of an individual village.
At the village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru level, only red and white wines are discovered, but a few of the regional appellations also enable the production of rosé and sparkling wines as well as wines dominated by other grape varieties than Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.
These appellations might be divided into three groups: AOC Bourgogne, the standard or “generic” appellation for red or white wines created anywhere throughout the region, and represent simpler wines which are still comparable to the village. These wines might be produced at 55 hectoliters/hectare. These wines are generally intended for immediate consumption, within 3 years right after the vintage date. Subregional (sous-régional) appellations cover a part of Burgundy larger than a village. Examples are Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits and Mâcon-Villages.
Typically, those communes which don’t have a village appellation, do have access to a minimum of one subregional appellation. This level is from time to time described as intermediate between AOC Bourgogne and also the village level. Wines of particular styles or other grape varieties include white Bourgogne Aligoté (which is primarily created with the Aligoté grape), red Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains (which can contain up to two thirds Gamay) and sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne.