Burgundy, or Bourgogne, is the home of the ‘climat’ and some of the world’s greatest wines. The region itself sits in eastern France, in the valleys and slopes west of the Saône River (a tributary of the Rhône). The wines from Burgundy are commonly referred to as ‘Burgundies’ with the reds made from Pinot Noir grapes and the whites from Chardonnay. Burgundy has a typical continental climate characterised by hot summers and very cold winters. The weather is very unpredictable and because of this, vintages of Burgundies can vary considerably.
Burgundy classifications are focused on the geography of the vineyard and ‘terroir’ rather than the producer like Bordeaux classifications. This is shown on the labels where the appellation takes pride of place and producer’s names are often found in much smaller print at the bottom of the label. The main levels of Burgundy classifications in hierarchical order are Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Village appellation and regional appellation (Bourgogne).