French Burgundy Wine, French Wine Vineyards
Burgundy is a wonderful place to take a holiday, not just for its wine. Beautiful countryside, delicious food and lively towns and cities are just a few reasons why Burgundy (Bourgogne in french) is so appealing.
French Burgundy Wine Region
The main french burgundy wine regions are Chablis, Côte d’Or, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais and Beaujolais.
Whereas Bordeaux is made up of large estates, Burgundy consists of many smaller producers; some may not actually own vineyards, but will buy grapes and then blend and bottle them under their own label.
In general, the top wines are the Grands and Premiers Crus, which account for about 12% of total production. The Grands Crus wines are found only in Chablis and the Côte d’Or; you’ll find Premier Cru in these regions as well as the Côte Chalonnaise.
The finest french burgundy wine is made mostly from pinot noir (red) and chardonnay (white) grapes. Beaujolais is made from Gamay grapes.
French Burgundy Wine Trail
The best way to explore this fantastic region is by car.
The Côte D’Or wine trail, south of Dijon, is the most popular tourist route; this is where some of the most prestigious and famous burgundy wines are.
If you can, we’d also recommend exploring the often overlooked Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais wine regions. You can find some good wines here – and they’re affordable, often costing a fraction of what you’d pay on the Côte d’Or.
French Burgundy Wine Region
French Burgundy Wine Routes
– Côte D’Or –
The Routes des Grand Crus (often referred to as the Côte d’Or or the Champs Élysées of Burgundy) is one of the most famous wine routes in Burgundy, and runs south from Dijon down to Santenay.
The Côte D’Or is actually made up of two districts: in the north, you have the Côte de Nuits which runs from Fixin down to Corgoloin; south from this is the Côte de Beaune starting at Aloxe-Corton and going down to Santenay.
The most prestigious wines (Grand Cru) are found on the Côte d’Or; predominantly red burgundies in the Côte de Nuits; and white burgundies in the Côte de Beaune.
Some of the most famous villages along the Côte de Nuits include Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne-Romanée. Our favourite was Gevrey Chambertin, a pretty little village, with narrow streets and plenty of opportunities for wine tastings.
For wine tasting along the Côte de Beaune, you could try Beaune, Savigny-les-Beaune, Chorey-les-Beaune; Pommard, and Volnay. The most famous white wine towns/communes are towards the south end of the Côte de Beaune – such as Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet.
Beaune is the unofficial capital of the Côte d’Or and is a great place to do some wine tasting.
Here are the contact details of two wineries in Beaune:
Marché aux Vins
Wine tasting by candlelight!
2, rue Nicolas Rolin
21 200 Beaune
Phone: 03 80 25 08 20
Patriarche Pere et Fils
5-7, Rue du Collège
Phone: 03 80 24 53 79/87
(email through website)
For a map of the wine towns and contact details for tastings, you can check out the official website for the Burgundy Wine Tourist Trail.– La Route des Grands Vins –
The La Route Touristique des Grands Vins, or the Fine Wines Route, is further south from the Côte D’Or and includes the Côte Chalonnais.
The scenic Côte Chalonnaise is probably one of the lesser known wine regions in Burgundy; but it’s a treasure full of wonderful, easy to drink and affordable wines.
The Côte Chalonnaise is east of the little town of Chalon-sur-Saône; the most important wines include Givry, Mercurey (reds), Montagny, and Rully (whites).– The Mâconnais –
Moving further south again is the Mâconnais wine region, which produces mainly chardonnay – and some of the best value ones at that.
You’ll see signs for towns with familiar names – Pouilly and Fuissé, for example.
The town of Mâcon is a good base for exploring the wines in this area. Check out the Mâcon tourism website for information on wine tastings in the Mâconnais (and Beaujolais) vineyards.– Beaujolais –
And lastly you have the Beaujolais region, known for its light and fruity red wines. The district of Beaujolais crosses two departements – the Rhone (Rhône-Alpes) and Saône-et-Loire département (Burgundy).
Beaujolais is usually considered a part of Burgundy however their wines are unique enough to be thought of as a separate.
You can visit the producers themselves, or the villages sometimes have their own tasting rooms where you can sample wines from small local growers.
You can pick up a list of places for tastings at the Beaujeux Tourist Office website (select viticulture, then ‘caveaux et caves cooperatives’).
Map of French Burgundy Wine Region
Here is a map of the Burgundy wine region with coloured markers as follows:
- Red: Côte de Nuits
- Turquoise: Côte de Beaune
- Green: Côte Chalonnais
- Yellow: Macon/Beaujolais (we’ve also marked Beaune in yellow)