With around 700 appellations, representing 23% of France’s protected wine styles, Burgundy is amongst the most complex and sophisticated wine regions in the world. Yes, here Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are king and queen, but the regional variations and the immense range of terroirs, climats and lieu-dits make exploring Bourgogne a lifelong quest.
Bourgogne AOC is the largest appellation in the region and covers all wine-producing communes in Burgundy, in the Départements of l’Yonne, Saône-et-Loire, Rhône and the Côte-d’Or. The appellation covers white red and rosé wine styles, making it expansive, to say the least.
In Burgundy, a well-defined quality pyramid puts the famous vineyards with Grand Cru status at the top, followed by the Premier Crus. A third level covers winemaking at a village level, and finally, the regional appellations — Bourgogne is the most extensive regional appellation in Burgundy.
The finest and most coveted Burgundian wines are amongst the most expensive on the planet, but the region has a wide range of quality wine at all price points. Talking about value, this is where Bourgogne AOC wines genuinely shine; they have a fantastic quality-price ratio. Beautifully crafted by some of the most respected Burgundian producers, these entry-level wines often over-deliver.
The grapes destined to Bourgogne AOC level either come from younger vineyards, thus are still maturing and gaining complexity, or come from vineyards outside more prestigious appellations throughout Burgundy.
Fine vineyards right outside the villages and communes across de Côte-d’Or, for example, produce extraordinary grapes, but they might be out of the designated area for the village. The producers then must label the wine as Bourgogne — this doesn’t mean the quality is any different than the one found a few meters closer to the village.
Grape growers must plant all vineyards at a Bourgogne AOC level to a minimum of 5000 vines per hectare, and it only goes up from there for complementary geographical indications. The vignerons must pick the grapes with at least 165 grammes per sugar in the must, equivalent to potential 10.2% alcohol by volume. All these strict rules ensure the quality in such prevalent appellation is overall high and competes with wine worldwide.
Bourgogne AOC wine can be labelled with one of thirteen additional geographical indications, the most popular being Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits, Bourgogne Épineuil and Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise. The quality guidelines in these cases are even stricter.
As for the élevage, most Bourgogne wine spends some time in oak barrels, but oak’s influence is never overwhelming but subtle. White wine often goes through malolactic fermentation, gaining a pleasant creaminess and roundness.
Grape Varieties and Blends
Domaines must make white wine with the main grape varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, with a complimentary variety, Pinot Gris, that can only be 30% of the final blend. Of course, most white wine in the appellation is made with 100% Chardonnay.
Red wine is almost always pure Pinot Noir, although the appellation rules allow for a maximum of 10% César and 30% Gamay.
Bourgogne Rosé most comprise a majority of Pinot Noir and can have minuscule traces of up to 15% of accessory varietals, including Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and César.
Despite the allowed accessory grapes, Burgundy is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and most quality producers will use nothing else.
If a wine label states the wine grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Gamay, producers must make the wine with at least 85% of the stated variety. This is a rule at a European level.
Buy Bourgogne AOC Wines from Hourlier Wines
At Hourlier Wines, we find immense pleasure in the great wines of Burgundy, but we also know there’s great value and satisfaction at Burgundy’s regional appellations. This has taken us on a quest to find the most honoured producers specialising in Bourgogne AOC, and we’re proud to say their regional wines are as delightful as many wines at higher tiers.
Amongst our finds, you’ll discover the wine from Vignoble Dampt Freres, a domain going back to 1981, with holdings Chablis, Tonnerre and Irancy for 135 hectares of premium grapes - A beautiful family history we’re proud to bring to you.
You’ll also discover Domaine Coste-Caumartin, a historical estate making wine in Burgundy since the 17th-century. These are some of the finest examples in the category.
Bourgogne: Dampt Freres Epineuil Red
This delectable 100% Pinot Noir, grown with sustainable methods in northern Burgundy, within the unique geographical indication Epineuil, is fermented 35% in barrel, 65% in stainless steel tanks for a fresh and vibrant Pinot with tart cherry aromas, and a smooth, silky palate. An extraordinary example of the appellation, suitable for pairing with smoked salmon and fatty cured meats.
Bourgogne: Dampt Freres Racineuil Red
Eric and Emmanuel Dampt created this mono-varietal Pinot Noir from their exclusive lieu-dit Racineuil. The crimson-hued wine shows black cherries and hints of damp earth over a palate dominated by powdery tannins. The tart acidity makes the wine mouth-watering and compatible with a wide scope of food, from seafood to roasted poultry.
Bourgogne: Domaine Coste-Caumartin Chardonnay White
From the prestigious, Pinot-specialised Pommard commune, the estate with 12.78 hectares of vines and over 300-years of history shows the amazing value of Bourgogne AOC with a 100% Chardonnay aged for ten months in oak barrels. Apples, white flowers and hints of vanilla make this golden wine a marvellous pairing with Lobster, butter-seared prawns, and rich sauces over white meat.
Where does Bourgogne AOC wine originate?
Bourgogne AOC can come from any vineyard inside the vast Burgundy wine region, from the northern Chablis to the southernmost terroirs in the Rhône Department.
What does Bourgogne AOC wine taste like?
Red Bourgogne, as a worthy example of Burgundy’s Pinot Noir, is cherry-scented and smooth with earthy undertones and mouth-watering acidity. You’ll never find astringency or harshness in these wines.
White Bourgogne is a younger and more vibrant rendition of the acclaimed white Burgundies, the most refined Chardonnay on the planet. These wines offer golden apple aromas and hints of white flowers over a creamy and round palate.
Which food groups pair well with Bourgogne AOC wine?
Red Bourgogne is the perfect partner for oily fish like salmon and tuna. It also pairs nicely with white meat: poultry and pork and is beautiful when paired with sweet and savoury food like Asian stir-fries.
White Bourgogne pairs best with poultry and pork, cream sauces, and buttery seafood. Escargots and Rockefeller oysters are classic pairings, but similar dishes are equally compatible with the style.