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Less than 5% of French wine comes from Burgundy, but don’t let this region’s size fool you. Bottles from this tiny area vary in flavor, style and complexity, making a bottle of Burgundy something truly special.
“Burgundy is no more than 60 miles from North to South, and it produces some of the most beautiful profiles of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir,” says Anna-Christina Cabrales, tasting director at Wine Enthusiast and Burgundy and Rhône Valley wine reviewer. “Winemakers around the world try and replicate the nuances and balance of this region.”
What Is Burgundy Wine?
Burgundy is a central Eastern France region that produces reds, whites, sparkling wines and rosés. From North to South, there are five primary wine-producing areas; Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais. Each one is made up of different villages, also called communes.
Some of the villages are home to climats and/or lieu dits, both of which are delineated superior vineyards. Each are “very distinct in geology and soil composition, which is primarily clay, marl and limestone,” adds Cabrales. “The decomposed marine sedimentary rocks from the Jurassic era allows the grapes to really shine and is the thread through this region.”
Here, we break down everything you need to know about Burgundy wine, plus some of our favorite bottles.
Our Favorite Burgundy Bottles
98 Points Wine Enthusiast
Bracing tannins frame red-cherry and fresh strawberry flavors in this ripe yet svelte, focused wine. Youthful red-fruit flavors are hedonistic already but this subtly spiced Pinot Noir is perfumed by hints of forest floor and wild herb that should gain depth with time. It’s best to hold till 2024 at least. The wine should improve well through 2040. —Anna Lee C. IIjima
97 Points Wine Enthusiast
Ripe and muscular in body, this powerful red reflects the luscious black-cherry and cassis flavors of an exceptionally ripe vintage, along with the cool edges and deeply mineral undertow of Clos Vougeot. Delicate and perfumed yet grounded and mouth drenching, the wine still needs time to develop. Approach from 2025. It should improve well through 2040 and hold further. Cellar Selection. —A.L.C.I.
96 Points Wine Enthusiast
Notes of truffles and sweet spice mingle into rich swathes of blackberry and black-cherry nectar in this fruity, mouthfilling Pinot Noir. It’s a plusher, softer expression of the Grands-Echezeaux reflective of a hot, dry vintage but maintains a graphite edge and mineral tension on the finish. At peak from 2025 to 2035, it’s likely to hold further still. —A.L.C.I.
95 Points Wine Enthusiast
Ripe and supple in texture, this wine highlights flavors of plum confit and brandy soaked black cherries accented by smoke, char and violet petals. Vinified from a blend of whole-cluster and destemmed grapes and matured 16 months in French oak (40% to 50% new), it’s freshly balanced in acidity but pliant and open in tannin structure. Approachable young, it should improve through 2030 and hold further. —A.L.C.I.
94 Points Wine Enthusiast
Bold, spicy aromas of charred wood and black tea leaves perfume ripe boysenberry and blackberry flavors in this wine. Sourced from organic and biodynamically farmed vines, it balances rich black fruit against an earthen, smoky undertow. Soft, pliant tannins are welcoming young but it should hit peak from 2025 and improve through 2035. —A.L.C.I.
93 Points Wine Enthusiast
Hints of char and licorice juxtapose ripe, piercing aromas of cassis and blueberry in this intensely ripe, supple wine. Generous and glossy on the palate, it’s a black-fruited sip balanced by brisk acidity and a long, graphite finish. Best from 2024 through 2030, the wine should hold further. —A.L.C.I.
92 Points Wine Enthusiast
Hints of violet petals juxtapose granite and freshly dug beetroot in this deeply fruity yet earthy, savory red. Bright, ripe blackberry and raspberry flavors are juicy and forward but the wine also has a mineral intensity that’s seductive. Fresh in acidity and framed by fine, penetrating tannins, it should improve through 2029 at least. —A.L.C.I.
Which Grapes are in Burgundy Wine?
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the main grapes of Burgundy. “The Pinot Noir exudes beautiful wild and sometimes concentrated red berry tones with hints of black pepper,” says Cabrales. “Its bouquet or floral presentation, backed with a fine stone minerality, captivates me. The moment I smell this, I know exactly where I am.”
Whereas the Chardonnay from Burgundy is “like a bright sunny day,” says Cabrales. “The profile transports you to an open field where you can smell a balance between a fresh tart or ripe citrus basket. These wines’ light herbal notes and then the floral aspect is inescapable.”