Friday, November 27, 2009

Chardonnay Part 2: White Burgundy

Chardonnay is grown mostly in Champagne, Burgundy, and Languedoc-Roussillon. Burgundy, despite the obvious association to the color red, can be both red or white wine. White Burgundy is made from 100% Chardonnay, and they are all dry. There are 4 main areas in Burgundy:
  • Chablis: produces 100% white wine
  • Mâconnais: 85% white wine
  • Côte Châlonnaise: 40% white
  • Côte D'Or: is divided into Côte de Nuits (5%) and Côte de Beaune (30%)
  • Beaujolais: produces 99% redwine
The best wines are produced in Chablis, Mersault and Puligny-Montrachet in Côte de Beaune, and Pouilly-Fuissé, an estate south of Mâconnais. Chablis produces wines with the most acid. At Chablis and Mâconnais, grapes are fermented and aged in stainless-steel tanks. Côte de Beaune age theirs in oak barrels, giving it complexity, depth, body, flavour, and longevity.

Wine from other parts of Burgundy I did not mention above is labelled as Bourgogne AC. These are not the best wines, but the quality is consistent and the wines are pleasant.

The quality of the wine is indicated on the label:
  • Village Wine: ($) Simply bears the name of the village where it is produced. Not bad.
  • Premier Cru: ($$) From a specific vineyard within one of the villages. Usually it would list the village first and vineyard second on the label. If it doesn't have the specific vineyard on the label, then it is a blend of different cru vineyard in that village, and thus has lower quality.
  • Grand Cru: ($$$$) From a specific vineyard that posses the best soil and slope in the area and meets all other requirements. On the label, the village names are not even on the label. Only the Grand Cru vinyard name are used.

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