Burgundy's wines are known across the world: Gevrey Chambertin, Pommard, Meursaut, all the products of the region's unique soil. In 2015, the Climates of Burgundy were officially added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
"In Burgundy, when you talk about the climate, you're not looking up towards the sky - you're looking down at the soil." In just a few words, famous French journalist perfectly described what makes Burgundy's 1,247 vineyards - stretching from Nuits-Saint-Georges to Beaune - so special.
The word "climate" has been used in Burgundy, since the sixteenth century, to refer to the soil associated with their particular variety of grapes, the parcels of land and the savoir-faire used by local wine growers. This notion of identity is best expressed along the 60 kilometer wine-growing Côte which links Dijon to Santenay. The multitude of inter-connected Climates extends over the area, like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle, creating a mosaic of unique crus (wines) and a host of illustrious names, each chharacterized by:
- The quality and features of the soil
- Sun exposure
- The vineyard's slope
- The grape variety
Burgundy’s wine region has been shaped over 2,000 years. Wine-growing here is characterized by the constant commitment to precise reference of place (the Climate) and of time (vintage) as markers of quality in wine production. Each variety has been gradually crafted by man’s creative genius combined with an exceptional natural setting.
Over the course of the centuries, a few events celebrating wine have stayed on the calendar. The Vente des Hospices de Beaune or the Saint Vincent - a wine-growing festival from the eigtheenth century celebrating solidarity between neighboring villages - are just a few of the events at the foundation of Burgundy's traditions.
An Established Heritage
Limestone, present in the soil, contributes to the shape of the landscape, cities, and villages of Burgundy. The best examples? The particular style of the Hospices Civils de Beaune or the grandiose Palais des États de Bourgogne in Dijon.
Each wine possesses its own history, distinctive flavor and place in the wine hierarchy, especially thanks to the wine-growers who produce them. But to what wine-growers do we owe our thanks? The first producers of wine were Cistercian and Clunisian monks, whose monastic traditions we've kept to this day.
Montrachet, Romanée-Conti, Clos de Vougeot, Corton, Musigny, Chambertin, all names which express the cultural diversity of the Burgundy wine region. Many have roots going back several centuries: Romanée is a reference to the proximity of an ancient Roman road, and Montrachet translates to the vegetation at the top of a hill.
A Model for the Wine-Growing World
The vineyards of Burgundy are unique in how closely they link their wines to their soil that produces them. Their inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list is especially deserved now that Burgundy - which is only responsible for 3% of global wine production - has become a model for responsible and sustainable wine-growing. The region's methods are now being copied throughout the world, as in New Zealand.