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Burgundy wine appellations

Burgundy Appellations

In Burgundy, the notion of terroir is very important, as it is the soil that gives the wine its name. The smallest appellations are sometimes the most prestigious.


Authentic local classification

Each wine-growing region in France has its own classification of wines. In Burgundy,the notion of terroir is very important, since it’s the soil that gives the wine its name (in Alsace, it’s the grape variety, in Bordeaux, it’s the domaine…).

The wine terroir in Burgundy is also referred to as “Climat“. This is a parcel of vines, carefully delimited and named for centuries, which has its own history and benefits from particular geological and climatic conditions.

“In Burgundy, when we talk about a climate, we don’t raise our eyes to the sky, we lower them to the earth”

Quote by Bernard Pivot, writer and president of the Comité de soutien de l’Association pour l’inscription des Climats du vignoble de Bourgogne au Patrimoine mondial de l’Unesco.

Regional appellations - Burgundy wines

They are found throughout the Burgundy wine region. The word "Bourgogne" appears on the bottle.

Examples of regional appellations:

  • Bourgogne aligoté
  • Bourgogne Hautes côtes de Beaune
  • Crémant de Bourgogne…

Appellations communales - Burgundy wines

There are 44 communal appellations in Burgundy. The wine then bears the name of the village in whose area it is produced.

Examples of communal appellations:

Appellations Premiers Crus - Burgundy wines

In Burgundy, within a communal appellation area, parcels also known as climats, have been determined and classified premiers crus, particularly with regard to their consistent quality. For example, the parcel “les Marconnets“, located in the Beaune appellation area is classified 1er cru.

Beaune is the largest appellation (by surface area) in Côte d’Or and has 42 parcels classified as premiers crus.

The words “Appellation 1er cru contrôlée” must appear on the bottle, along with the name of the commune. (example: “Appellation Beaune 1er Cru”). The name of the parcel is not always specified on the label.

  • Examples of Premiers Crus appellations:
  • Beaune 1er Cru “Les Marconnets”
  • Beaune 1er Cru “Les Cents Vignes”
  • Volnay 1er Cru “Les Caillerets”
  • Pommard 1er Cru “Les Rugiens”
  • Meursault 1er Cru “Les Perrières”
  • Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru “Les Peuillets”
  • Santenay 1er Cru “La Comme”.

Appellations Grands Crus - The great wines of Burgundy

The 8 Grands Crus of the Côte de Beaune

  • Corton
  • Corton Charlemagne
  • Charlemagne
  • Montrachet
  • Chevalier-Montrachet
  • Bâtard-Montrachet
  • Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet
  • Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet

Did you notice? 4 are in the commune of Puligny-Montrachet. This typical village is well worth a visit.

In Côte de Nuits, la Romanée-Conti is certainly the best-known of Burgundy’s Grands Crus appellations. Only a privileged few can acquire it, as average production is just 5,980 bottles a year.