Ultimate Guide to Burgundy Wines 2024

Ultimate Guide to Burgundy Wines 2024

Ultimate Guide to Burgundy Wines: An Overview of the Region, its Sub-Regions, Varieties, and Food Pairings

Updated April 2024

Burgundy, a revered wine region in eastern France, is synonymous with world-class wines. This comprehensive guide delves into the depths of Burgundy wine, exploring its main regions and sub-regions, the historical evolution of its winemaking, characteristic profiles of its wines, and ideal food pairings. Whether you're a wine aficionado or a curious novice, understanding Burgundy wines enhances your appreciation and tasting experience. And this is just the start of our Burgundy journey.

Read on for our ultimate guide to the Burgundy region, or jump to your favourite section using the links below.

The Historical Tapestry of Burgundy Wines

Burgundy, a region synonymous with fine wine, boasts a deeply rooted history in viticulture that dates back over two millennia. This prestigious wine region of France is not just known for its exceptional wines but also for its profound impact on the history of winemaking. Here we explore the historical milestones that have shaped Burgundy into a world-renowned wine-producing area.

The Roman Influence and Monastic Era

The history of winemaking in Burgundy began with the Romans, who introduced grapevines to the region during their occupation of Gaul. However, it was during the Middle Ages that Burgundy's wine industry truly began to flourish. This growth was largely driven by the monastic communities, particularly the Benedictines and Cistercians, who were the first to implement meticulous vineyard management practices that are still revered today. The monks dedicated themselves to understanding the nuances of the terroir, laying the groundwork for the concept of "climats" in Burgundy.

The Concept of "Climats" and Its Impact

The "climats" of Burgundy refer to the precisely defined vineyard areas that possess distinct geographical and climatic conditions. This unique classification system, which dates back to the monks of the Middle Ages, has led to the creation of some of the most meticulously categorised wine regions in the world. Each "climat" is known for producing wine with unique characteristics that reflect its specific terroir, contributing to the complex tapestry of Burgundy wines.

Ducal Influence and Expansion

The Dukes of Burgundy, particularly from the 14th to the 15th centuries, played a significant role in promoting the quality and reputation of Burgundy wines. They established strict regulations to ensure the quality of the wines and expanded the market for these wines beyond the borders of France. The prestige of Burgundy wines grew under their patronage, setting standards that would influence winemaking practices across Europe.

Modern Winemaking and Global Recognition

In the 19th century, Burgundy faced challenges such as phylloxera that devastated its vineyards. However, the resilient winemakers of Burgundy managed to revive the region by grafting France vines onto resistant American rootstocks. The 20th century saw further sophistication in the region's winemaking techniques and a stronger emphasis on quality. Today, Burgundy wines hold a prestigious position on the global stage, celebrated for their depth, complexity, and unparalleled expression of terroir.

The Famous Regions Within Burgundy

Côte de Nuits: Land of Prestigious Reds

Nestled in the Burgundy wine region of France, the Côte de Nuits stands as a beacon for red wine enthusiasts around the world. Known predominantly for its exceptional Pinot Noir, this narrow strip of vineyard-covered hills from Dijon to Corgoloin offers a deep dive into the history and distinct characteristics of its world-renowned wines. Let's explores the famous villages of Côte de Nuits, the historical backdrop of this revered wine region, and the unique attributes of the wines it produces.

Côte de Nuits is celebrated for producing some of the finest Pinot Noir wines in Burgundy and the world. Towns like Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne-Romanée offer wines noted for their robust structure and potential to age. A glass from here might reveal complex flavours of cherry, plum, and earthy undertones. Côte de Nuits wines are generally powerful and aromatic, with a bouquet of dark fruits and a lingering finish, suitable for aging.

Historical Significance of Côte de Nuits

The history of winemaking in Côte de Nuits is intricately linked to the medieval monastic movements in Burgundy, with monks playing a crucial role in the cultivation of vines and the production of wine. By the time of the French Revolution, the region had established a reputation for producing some of the best wines in Europe. The classification of its vineyards in the 19th and 20th centuries further solidified Côte de Nuits' status as a producer of high-quality, sought-after wines. The area’s focus on quality over quantity continues to define its output and reputation.

The Famous Villages of Côte de Nuits

Each village in Côte de Nuits contributes uniquely to the tapestry of flavours and characteristics that define the Burgundy region’s wines:


Known for producing some of the most robust and longest-lasting Pinot Noirs in Burgundy and the world, Gevrey-Chambertin hosts nine Grand Cru vineyards, including the famous Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Wines from this village are intensely flavored, with layers of complexity and a firm structure, making them highly collectible.


Vosne-Romanée is widely regarded as the jewel of Côte de Nuits, home to the legendary Romanée-Conti. The wines from this village are celebrated for their finesse and balance, offering a harmonious blend of power and elegance, with rich aromas of cherry, spices, and sometimes chocolate.


Sandwiched between Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-Saint-Denis produces wines that are a fine blend of their neighbours’ traits—robust like those from Gevrey and delicate like those from Chambolle. It includes Grand Cru vineyards such as Clos de la Roche and Clos Saint-Denis.


Chambolle-Musigny is famed for producing wines of great elegance and finesse. The best vineyards, such as Le Musigny and Bonnes Mares, yield wines that are highly aromatic, with a silky texture and flavours of ripe red berries and currants, underpinned by a distinct minerality.


The largest town in Côte de Nuits, Nuits-Saint-Georges doesn’t have any Grand Crus but boasts numerous high-quality Premier Crus. Wines here are typically bold and tannic, with a bouquet of wild herbs and dark fruit, suitable for aging.


Vougeot, primarily noted for the grand Clos Vougeot, produces structured wines with a good balance of fruit and tannin, perfect for aging.

Characteristics of Côte de Nuits Wines

The wines of Côte de Nuits are primarily made from Pinot Noir and are renowned for their deep ruby colour, complex aromas, and considerable aging potential. They often exhibit flavours of black cherry, raspberry, and spices, with older vintages developing earthy and gamey notes. The high-quality limestone soils contribute to the notable minerality and fine tannic structure of these wines.

Food Pairings

The intensity and complexity of Côte de Nuits wines make them excellent partners for rich, flavourful dishes. They pair wonderfully with game meats, beef bourguignon, roasted lamb, and earthy vegetables like mushrooms. Cheeses such as Epoisses and Langres also complement the fruity and earthy profiles of these wines.

Summing up Côte de Nuits

Côte de Nuits is not just a wine region; it’s a cultural heritage of France, offering some of the finest expressions of Pinot Noir globally. Each village within the Côte contributes its signature to the wines produced, making this region a fascinating study for wine lovers. Exploring Côte de Nuits is to journey into the heart of Burgundy's winemaking tradition, where every sip reveals a story of the land and its history. Whether you are a seasoned collector or a new enthusiast, the wines of Côte de Nuits offer an unmatched experience that is as rich in history as it is in flavor.

Côte de Beaune: A Diversity of Flavours

Situated in the heart of Burgundy, France, the Côte de Beaune is celebrated not only for its prestigious white wines, primarily Chardonnay, but also for its sophisticated and nuanced reds. This wine region is a tapestry of historic villages and vineyards that tell the story of Burgundy's rich winemaking tradition and terroir-focused cultivation. In this section we delve into the famous villages of Côte de Beaune, explore the historical context of the region, and highlight the distinct characteristics of the wines it produces.

Côte de Beaune is known more for its exquisite white wines primarily from Chardonnay. The wines from regions like Meursault or Puligny-Montrachet are rich with a balanced acidity, showcasing flavours from crisp apple to toasted nuts. Côte de Beaune offers a contrast, with its whites being round and lively, and its reds more subtle and soft.

Historical Context of Côte de Beaune

Côte de Beaune's winemaking history is also deeply rooted in the Middle Ages, with monasteries playing a pivotal role in the development of viticulture and the detailed classification of vineyards based on the quality of their terroir. This long-standing tradition of meticulous care and dedication to the craft has established Côte de Beaune as a cornerstone of Burgundy's wine legacy, particularly noted for its exceptional white wines that are revered globally.

The Renowned Villages of Côte de Beaune

Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet

These two villages are synonymous with world-class Chardonnay, sharing the hallowed Grand Cru vineyards of Le Montrachet and Batard-Montrachet. Wines from these areas are the epitome of Burgundy's white winemaking, offering unmatched complexity, richness, and longevity. They exhibit profound layers of flavor, including peach, hazelnut, and butter, complemented by an elegant minerality and vibrant acidity.


Famous for producing rich, full-bodied Chardonnay, Meursault wines are more opulent and less restrained than those from Montrachet. With a creamy texture and flavours of toasted almonds and baked apples, accompanied by a striking balance of acidity, Meursault wines are a favourite among those who appreciate a bolder Chardonnay.


The namesake town of the region, Beaune, is primarily known for its red wines, which are typically lighter than those from the Côte de Nuits but still offer considerable complexity and charm. The Premier Cru vineyards here produce elegant and fruity Pinot Noir with a delicate bouquet of red berries, flowers, and a hint of earthiness.


Pommard is another village revered for its robust and tannic red wines, which contrast with the generally more delicate reds of Beaune. Pommard's wines are more muscular and structured, with deep flavours of dark cherries, plums, and a firm mineral backbone, making them well-suited to aging.


Aloxe-Corton is unique in the Côte de Beaune for its significant number of Grand Cru vineyards, including the famous Corton-Charlemagne, which is primarily known for its powerful and rich Chardonnay. The reds from Corton are equally esteemed, offering a full-bodied profile with complex notes of berries, forest floor, and spices.

Characteristics of Côte de Beaune Wines

The wines from Côte de Beaune are diverse, with the whites generally exhibiting intense floral and fruity aromas along with a pronounced minerality and high acidity, contributing to their ability to age gracefully. The reds, while often overshadowed by the whites, should not be underestimated; they are known for their elegance and finesse, featuring soft tannins and a vibrant red fruit character.

Food Pairings

The versatility of Côte de Beaune wines makes them excellent companions to a wide range of dishes:

  • White Wines: Ideal with seafood such as scallops or lobster, creamy poultry dishes, or even with goat cheese.
  • Red Wines: Perfect with roasted chicken, duck, or even grilled salmon, as well as with mild, creamy cheeses.

Summing up Côte de Beaune

Côte de Beaune is a vital part of Burgundy's wine identity, offering an array of exquisite wines that capture the essence of their terroir. From the powerful and majestic whites of Montrachet to the charming and sophisticated reds of Beaune and Pommard, Côte de Beaune continues to enchant wine lovers around the world with its depth, diversity, and dedication to quality. Exploring this region offers a profound insight into the art of French winemaking, where every bottle tells a story of heritage and meticulous craftsmanship.


Côte Chalonnaise: A Hidden Gem

Nestled in the heart of France's prestigious Burgundy region, the Côte Chalonnaise is a treasure trove of vinicultural wonders that often flies under the radar. Known for its remarkable value and diverse wine offerings, this subregion stretches south from the Côte de Beaune, offering a unique exploration into the more accessible yet equally compelling aspects of Burgundian winemaking. This blog post delves into the vibrant wine-producing villages of the Côte Chalonnaise, the distinct characteristics of its wines, and why this region deserves a prominent spot on every wine enthusiast’s map.

This hidden gem is celebrated for producing expressive and high-quality wines that offer remarkable value, making it an ideal destination for those eager to explore the richness of Burgundian wines without the steeper premier cru price tags.

Discovering Côte Chalonnaise: The Land of Hidden Wonders

Unlike its more famous northern neighbours, the Côte Chalonnaise does not boast the grand cru vineyards of the Côte de Nuits or Côte de Beaune, but it prides itself on a range of high-quality premier cru and village wines that provide excellent value. The region encompasses several key villages including Rully, Mercurey, Givry, and Montagny, each contributing a unique voice to the chorus of Côte Chalonnaise wines.

Mercurey: The Heart of Red Wine Production

Mercurey is arguably the most renowned village in the Côte Chalonnaise, particularly noted for its robust and vibrant Pinot Noir wines. These wines are appreciated for their deep colour, rich structure, and the complexity of flavours that include notes of cherry, raspberry, and subtle earthy undertones. With a propensity for aging gracefully, Mercurey produces wines that develop richer and more refined flavours over time.

Rully: A White Wine Haven

Rully is celebrated for its elegant and refined Chardonnay, which embodies the minerality and freshness characteristic of the region’s white wines. The best Rully whites offer a perfect balance of crisp acidity and creamy textures, featuring aromas of green apples, lemon zest, and flint, making them perfect for pairing with seafood or creamy poultry dishes.

Givry: Known for Fragrance and Elegance

Givry wines, both red and white, are known for their aromatic intensity and elegance. The reds, made predominantly from Pinot Noir, are softer and more delicate than those from Mercurey, often showcasing flavours of red berries and a floral bouquet. This makes Givry reds particularly approachable in their youth.

Montagny: Exclusively White

Montagny is unique within the Côte Chalonnaise for its focus exclusively on white wines, which are made from Chardonnay. These wines typically exhibit a rich concentration of flavours including melon, citrus, and minerals, with a lush, velvety texture that speaks to their meticulous winemaking process.

Wine Characteristics and Pairings

The wines of Côte Chalonnaise are as diverse as the terroirs they come from. While the reds are celebrated for their depth and potential for aging, the whites are lauded for their vibrancy and aromatic complexity. The reds pair splendidly with grilled meats and hearty stews, whereas the whites complement dishes such as grilled fish, shellfish, and goat cheese salads.

The Value of Côte Chalonnaise

One of the most compelling reasons to explore the wines of the Côte Chalonnaise is their excellent quality-to-price ratio. These wines offer an affordable entry point into the world of Burgundy wines without compromising on the quality and experience that the region is known for.

Summing up Côte Chalonnaise

The Côte Chalonnaise region stands out as a significant, though less heralded, part of Burgundy's wine landscape. With its rich variety of wine styles and the outstanding value it offers, Côte Chalonnaise is an essential destination for both novice and experienced wine lovers. As you explore Burgundy, let the charm and distinctiveness of the Côte Chalonnaise guide you through a memorable journey of taste and tradition. Whether enjoying a glass of Mercurey Pinot Noir or a bottle of Montagny Chardonnay, the wines of Côte Chalonnaise promise to deliver a true Burgundian experience.


Chablis: The Famous White Wine

Chablis, located in the northernmost part of Burgundy, France, stands out as a distinctive wine region famed for its exceptional white wines made from Chardonnay grapes. Known for its unique terroir and the unmistakable minerality of its wines, Chablis offers a crisp, pure expression of Chardonnay unlike any other in the world. This blog post explores the unique aspects of the Chablis region, from its historic vineyards to the characteristics that define its wines and the food pairings that best complement them.

The Unique Terroir of Chablis

The Chablis wine region is renowned for its Kimmeridgian limestone soil, which dates back to the Jurassic era and is rich in tiny marine fossils that impart a distinct minerality to the wines. This soil, combined with the cool climate of the region, creates optimal conditions for producing wines with high acidity and vibrant flavours. Chablis' geographic isolation from other parts of Burgundy also contributes to its unique wine profile, dominated by purity and precision.

The Classification of Chablis Wines

Chablis wines are categorised into four levels of quality, each reflecting the specific characteristics and complexity influenced by their terroir:

  • Petit Chablis: The entry-level wines, coming from vineyards on the outskirts of Chablis’ limestone heart. These wines are lighter and more straightforward, ideal for early consumption.
  • Chablis: The largest category, representing the classic profile of the region with greater complexity and minerality than Petit Chablis. These wines are crisp, with a balanced acidity that makes them versatile for various pairings.
  • Chablis Premier Cru: Produced from 40 identified vineyards, these wines offer a richer body and more pronounced minerality, with the potential to age gracefully for several years.
  • Chablis Grand Cru: The highest quality level, from just seven climats on a single southwest-facing hillside near the town. These wines are profound, powerful, and capable of long aging, with complex flavours that evolve beautifully over time.

Characteristics and Sensory Profile

Chablis wines are almost exclusively made from Chardonnay, yet they are markedly different from Chardonnay wines found elsewhere in the world. Characteristically, these wines are bone-dry with a light to medium body, exhibiting flavours of green apple, lemon, and flint. There is a notable absence of oak in most Chablis wines, which allows the vibrant acidity and mineral-driven nature to shine through, providing a sharp contrast to the often buttery Chardonnay wines produced in warmer climates.

Food Pairings

The crisp acidity and mineral complexity of Chablis make it exceptionally food-friendly. Classic pairings include oysters and other shellfish, which complement the wine’s briny mineral quality. It also pairs beautifully with sushi, goat cheese, and savory poultry dishes. The premier and grand cru wines, with their greater complexity and structure, can accompany richer fare such as lobster in cream sauce or roasted veal.

Summing up Chablis

Chablis represents a unique chapter in the story of Burgundy's wine production. Its focus on a single grape variety, influenced by a distinct terroir, results in wines that are admired for their purity, elegance, and ability to pair with a wide array of cuisines. For wine lovers seeking to explore the diversity of Chardonnay, Chablis offers a compelling and unique experience that underscores the influence of terroir on wine flavour and character. Whether enjoying a young Petit Chablis on a summer day or savouring a mature Grand Cru at a fine dining experience, Chablis provides a clear window into the soul of its landscape, making it a must-try for enthusiasts around the globe.


Mâconnais: Value Meets Quality

Nestled in the southern reaches of Burgundy, France, the Mâconnais region is renowned for producing exceptional value white wines predominantly from Chardonnay grapes. This area is often overshadowed by the more famous northern counterparts like Côte de Beaune and Chablis, but it stands out for its vibrant, fruit-forward wines that capture the essence of Burgundian craftsmanship at a more accessible price point. In this blog post, we delve into the rich viticultural heritage, the distinct characteristics of Mâconnais wines, and the perfect food pairings to enhance your tasting experience.

The Vibrant Viticulture of Mâconnais

The Mâconnais region extends from Tournus in the north to Mâcon in the south, featuring a landscape that is more rolling and less regimented than the rest of Burgundy. The climate here is slightly warmer, which influences the ripening of the grapes and contributes to the fruitier style of the wines compared to their northern neighbours. This region is also home to some of Burgundy's most innovative and progressive winemakers, who are continually exploring sustainable and organic and biodynamic practices to enhance the quality and distinctiveness of their wines.

Key Appellations and Their Wines


The most prestigious appellation within the Mâconnais, Pouilly-Fuissé is known for producing rich, full-bodied Chardonnay with a remarkable complexity. The wines typically exhibit flavours of ripe apple, pear, and citrus, with nuances of almond and honey, complemented by elegant oak notes and a creamy texture due to malolactic fermentation and lees aging.


Surrounding Pouilly-Fuissé, the Saint-Véran appellation produces slightly lighter, yet still complex, Chardonnays. These wines are known for their crisp acidity, minerality, and flavours of green apple and citrus, making them refreshing and easy to drink at a younger age.


This broader appellation offers an excellent introduction to the Mâconnais style at a great value. Mâcon-Villages wines are generally unoaked, focusing on the pure expression of Chardonnay with vibrant acidity and clean, straightforward fruit flavours such as lemon, pear, and melon.

Wine Characteristics and Sensory Profiles

Mâconnais wines are celebrated for their approachability and sunny disposition. The Chardonnays from this region are less about the buttery, oaky richness often associated with New World styles and more about showcasing the varietal's inherent freshness and liveliness. Mineral undertones and floral notes are also common, adding complexity to the palate.

Food Pairings

The versatility of Mâconnais wines makes them superb partners for a variety of dishes:

  • Pouilly-Fuissé: Excellent with rich seafood dishes like lobster thermidor, creamy pastas, or poultry in a creamy sauce.
  • Saint-Véran: Pairs well with lighter fare such as fresh salads, grilled chicken, or seafood.
  • Mâcon-Villages: Ideal with simple appetisers, light salads, or as an aperitif.

Summing up Mâconnais

The Mâconnais region offers a refreshing take on Burgundian Chardonnay, emphasising fruit purity, crispness, and immediate drinkability. Its wines provide not only a gateway to the broader complexities of Burgundy but also stand on their own as expressions of a unique terroir. Whether you're new to Burgundy or a seasoned enthusiast, the Mâconnais has something to surprise and delight with its quality and value, making it a must-explore region for any wine lover.

In the southern extremes of Burgundy, the Mâconnais region is known for its value-driven yet high-quality Chardonnay. Wines from Pouilly-Fuissé are particularly esteemed, offering a creamier texture with hints of almonds and fresh green apples, while the wines of . Pair these with creamy seafood dishes or poultry. Mâconnais produces bolder Chardonnays with higher acidity and more body. Mâconnais wines are excellent with goat cheese salads or grilled seafood.



Burgundy's intricate mosaic of vineyards and vintages offers a vast spectrum of wines, each with its unique story and flavor profile. From the robust reds of the Côte de Nuits to the vibrant and refreshing Chablis, Burgundy wines not only reflect their rich history and meticulous winemaking traditions but also offer perfect pairings for a myriad of dishes. Dive into the world of Burgundy wines and discover your favourites in this distinguished and diverse wine region.

Whether you're hosting a dinner party or simply enjoying an evening at home, there's a Burgundy wine that fits every occasion, palate, and dish. Be sure to check out our wide selection of Burgundy Wines. Cheers to exploring the depth and breadth of one of the world's most celebrated wine regions!