In many ways, Burgundy is France’s most complex wine-producing region. It’s famed for its crisp chardonnays and earthy pinot noirs – but even slight differences in micro-climate, soil structure and grape variety can produce wines of wildly different characters. 

There are more Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy than any other French region and it’s the birthplace of some of the world’s most expensive bottles. But, for the cost-conscious, there’s an abundance of lesser-known vineyards producing exciting, affordable wines.

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Wine grapes of Burgundy – pinot noir and chardonnay

Burgundy is the original home of the pinot noir grape, and ideal conditions bring out its elegant, aromatic taste. The region’s blend of soil, climate and vineyard-orientation is close to perfect for pinot noir, creating complex layers of taste.

The region is also famed for chardonnay vines. Mineral-rich soil contributes to a crisp aroma that’s fresh and fruity on the palette. Expect hints of orchard fruits, nuts — and even pineapple.


The secret beneath the surface 

The secret behind some of the distinctive tastes of these aromatic grapes lies in 200-million-year-old limestone soils. Marl – a mixture of limestone and clay – uniquely contributes mineral nuances for which they are well-known.

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Burgundy’s Chablis – for pure and crisp chardonnays

Burgundy divides into five wine-growing areas, each of them unique. White wine lovers should head to Chablis, where Chardonnay is most fruitful. 

This northern-most area is geographically separated from the rest of Burgundy, resulting in a cooler clime. Its chalky Kimmeridgian” soil traps the sun’s warmth, giving ripening grapes a crisp purity.


Côte de Beaune – Burgundy wines with wild-grass undertones 

Côte de Beaune is another Chardonnay area, creating floral undertones and hints of apple, pear and grasses. Within its refined wines are hints of hazelnuts, harvested nearby to several vineyards. 

The best way to sample the breadth of wines here is head to Rue des Vignerons, where there are several public wineries.

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Mâconnais – Burgundy’s most complex, punchiest chardonnays 

For punchy, affordable whites, head to Mâconnais, Burgundy’s southern-most area. Its Mediterranean-esque climate means harvest begins two weeks earlier than in Chablis. This results in well-structured notes, exhibiting hints of ripe fruits, citrus and herbs. 

The wine at Jean Manciat is particularly special; this family-run estate just outside Mâcon is known for well-balanced, elegant whites.

Chardonnay Burgundy

Côte de Nuits – for decadence and rarities 

Boasting 24 Grand Cru vineyards, Côte de Nuits is home to some of the world’s most decadent pinot noirs. With its scattering of smaller, family-run vineyards, there’s plenty here to stimulate the taste buds. 

Vintages can age for several decades — with price tags to match. Head over to the villages of Fixin and Comblanchien for some of the rarest finds and explore flavours of cherry, mushroom, spices and blackcurrants.

Pinor noir grapes

Côte Chalonnaise

This region is top for value wines, including oak-infused chardonnays and wholesome pinot noirs. The influence of surrounding forest-land is evident in its reds, which blend berries with earthy nuances. 

The towns of Givry, Rully and Mercurey are the best places to find reasonably-priced souvenirs; our top picks are Rully’s strawberry-tinged Domaine Jacqueson and Michel Sarrazin’s Les Dracy’.

Burgundy Wines

Choice Hotels in Burgundy