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Wine Region Focus: Burgundy

In this series of articles, I will take you on a journey to some of the world’s most renowned wine producing areas.
This first instalment is a quick trip over to ‘La Douce France’ to investigate a region which is dubbed ‘the
heart of France’. This has as much to do with its geographic location as its reputation of encompassing all the things
French we have learned to love. The region also happens to produce some of the country’s most iconic wines. It’s
Burgundy:  the heart of France.

Cradled by the vast Central Massif and the majestic Alps to the south-east, Burgundy region remains one of France’s
premier travel destinations.  And with good reason! The region epitomizes everything that is great about France: the
gastronomy, the history, the sundrenched landscapes stretching as far as the eyes can see, rolling hills planted with vines,
the ancient chateaux and villages…this is France at its best! As for wine, the region produces some of the finest reds
in the country; from the fruity and forgiving Beaujolais (often served chilled at the local bistros!) to the more complex
reds of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. Pinot Noir is the recurring theme here, and the grape thrives in
the relatively cool climes of the area.

Let’s not ignore the white wines though, as this is the home of the noble Chablis, the wine made solely from Chardonnay
grapes with that very distinct ‘flinty and steely’ intensity found nowhere else but here. The distinctive aromas
are attributed to the unique terroir, the combination of soil, slope and climatic conditions that dominate here. Sitting
under the olive trees, glass of chilled Chablis in hand…an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

Where there is good wine, there is good food and Burgundy is no different. Robust and hearty, the local fare draws heavily
on the quality of its ingredients. This is foraging country with an abundance of delicate mushrooms and truffles to be found
in the vast forests. Game is abundant too and features prominently on the menus of the local restaurants. Don’t leave
without trying the quintessential French dish coq au vin, prepared only with the most succulent birds from Bourg-en-Bresse. And there’s beef, Charolais cattle to be exact. A Burgundy native, this breed of cattle plays a starring role in another French classic:
Boeuf Bourguignon. Needless to say laced with a good splash of local red wine!

Gevrey Chambertin
– A destination on the Wine & Terroirs of Burgundy experience

Clos de Vougeot
– Another stop off point on the Wine & Terroirs of Burgundy tour


Burgundy (Bourgogne)


Côte d’Auxerre, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais, Beaujolais

Size of vineyards planted:

30.000 hectares


Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Aligoté


Cold dry winters and hot summers, long balmy autumns

Soil Type


No. Of appelations

100 AOC’s (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée)

Viticultural hazards

Sharp frosts at night and harvest rains

Notable wine houses

Clos de Vougeot, Chevalier-Montrachet , Romanée-Conti

Karen’s wine & cheese tip:

“I just love the combination of wine and cheese and a Pinot Noir is a great partner to something quite creamy such as acamembert. Straight from Marlborough, NZ comes the

Clos Henri Petite Clos 2008

from the

Clos Henri vineyard

near Blenheim.

Purvis Wine cellars

sell this wine for a modest $24.99 on their website.  As the name would suggest, the vineyard is set up by a Frenchman by the name of Henri Bourgeois. They produce meticulously created wines here, with a distinct French accent. This is a young, fresh, fruit driven wine with dried herb and spice, and balanced acidity. Red cherry, cranberry and rhubarb are backed by stemmy, undergrowth, truffle and simmering campfire complexities. Now that summer is almost here this would be my pick for
a long lazy lunch or a picnic in the sun. One thing is for sure, with this bottle of wine you’re
guaranteed instant ‘joie de vivre’! ”


If you would like to visit Burgundy, Food and Wine Travel offer tailor-made travel solutions to the region. Check out these
truly hedonistic travel experiences, including the Burgundy Wine & Terroir experience, a 5-day epicurean feast where
you will stay in top-rated chateaux and boutique hotels, eat in famed local restaurants and meet with local ‘vignerons’
and taste the fruits of their labour.

Alternatively, contact the author to speak about your personal requirements:

Written by Karen Ridge
Director Food and Wine Travel
1800 701 521

[email protected]

Further reading:

Foraging for mushrooms in Burgundy, with cooking tips to boot!

Excellent NY Ti
mes article about the delights of collecting cepes, girolles and some more exotic, and sometimes deadly, varieties of wild
mushrooms. in-depth look at Chablis. Some great wine tips too!
Julia Child’s famous Boeuf Bourguignon recipe, an instant classic that even a French chef would approve of!

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