Lay of the Land

Burgundy consists of five main wine-producing regions. It starts with Chablis in the north and ends at Mâcon in the south. Each of these regions has its own characteristics and produces wines with distinct profiles.

  • The northernmost section is Chablis. No, Chablis is not a grape variety; it is a town where the Chardonnay grape produces quality wines with steely and mineral characteristics. The world-famous reputation of these wines prompted manufacturers to label their jug wine as “Chablis,” but those wines do a disservice to the dry and crisp wines produced in this region. In fact, some of the most elegant white wines in the world are proudly produced in Chablis.
  • Côte de Nuits is the northern part of the Côte d’Or. This is the home of such famous towns as Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-Saint Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanee and Nuits-Saint-Georges. Here, the Pinot Noir grape finds its greatest expression. In fact, the Côte de Nuits produces all but one of the most exclusive red Grand Cru wines in Burgundy. Without a doubt, these are some of the finest red wines in the world.
  • Côte de Beaune is the southern part of the Côte d’Or. This is often referred to as Burgundy’s wine capital because the town of Beaune is located here along with the headquarters of many of Burgundy’s largest producers. The internationally known wine auction at the famous Hospices de Beaune takes place here every November. In addition to Beaune, some of the more famous towns are Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. The Côte de Beaune produces some of the best red wines from the Pinot Noir grape. The area is also recognized for producing the absolute best white wines made from the Chardonnay grape.
  • Côte Chalonnaise is probably the least well-known of the five regions in Burgundy. It produces some crisp Chardonnays as well as some fruity Pinot Noirs. Great values can be found in this “sleeper” region of Burgundy. The Côte Chalonnaise is also the home of Bouzeron, which makes some very special Aligote (the other white grape in Burgundy) wines as well as Rully, which makes some excellent Cremant (sparkling) wines.
  • Mâcon is Burgundy’s largest wine-growing district. The Chardonnay grape in the Mâcon region yields fresh and fruity white wines. The most famous of these are the Pouilly-Fuissé wines. This region offers the bargain hunter some worthy wines.

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