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Get introduced into the multiple Burgundy wines and learn more in the BIVB wine school, in Beaune!

19 min read
The Burgundy wines are famous worldwide and since ages. They are famous for their wide range of appellations, whose personality differ from one to another, and also evolve in your cellar, while passing ages. How to get the basics from this real Ali Baba’s cave? Many tools are possible, like safaris through wineries at the discovery of local methods, guided with experts.. but also wine schools, like the inescapable École des Vins de Bourgogne, in one of the Burgundy wines‘ main cities, Beaune (photo credits: BIVB).
This new age University proposes a huge choice of seminaries, destined both to professionals or just wine enthusiasts, in order to complete their knowledge in oenology. We will give you here a further presentation about these wide wines and the Burgundy wine appellation, so that you may be a little bit clearer for your next diners… By Alex Plato

…if you walk by those ways
Happiness knocks at your door…

Located at the northern outlet of the Rhône river corridor, the Burgundy vineyards enjoy a rather temperate climate in connection with the vegetative cycle of mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties.

Some climatic nuances appear with the former and actual oceanic influences, especially in Chablis, but also Mediterranean in Mâconnais or even a glance of continental climate in the Côte d’Or department where is located the city of Beaune
This is where you could train yourself in oenology thanks to the courses of the École des Vins de Bourgogne. This school depends of the BIVB, which is the Burgundy Wine Syndicate promoting all the territorial wineries (with an average surface of 8 hectares), within the 30,000 ha spread through the Burgundy area, versus 100,000 ha in the Bordeaux region. 
..or simply by wearing your walls with a colorful poster.
Learn more with this completely documented Atlas..

Because of the great diversity of its vineyards, terroirs, appellations and its particular wine styles, those Burgundian vineyards may sometimes appear complex either for wine professionals and amateurs, willing to find useful landmarks. Especially in this rich and huge territory, pretty dependent on market trends, thus creating some floating vogues.. That’s why many events and initiatives are organized in order to orient and inform the Burgundy wines enthusiasts (photo credits: Alex Plato).

By the way, for getting more geographical information about those Burgundian vineyards, and more broadly other French appellations, or even practical tips on how to select and pair a wine with your diner, La Carte des Vins s’il vous plaît is made for you. This french start-up proposes a collection of guides, posters and tasting aids about the vineyards of the world.

At the origins, the two founders Jules Gaubert-Turpin and Adrien Grant Smith Bianchi noticed there was a real lack of modern and aesthetic supports regarding oenology contents. That’s why, in 4 years, they decided to publish not less than 4 guides in 4 languages and mapped 92 vineyards, grouped in large size wine map posters or in their World Wine Atlas. The occasion to discover the wide variety of Burgundy wines and of course find the best millesimes!

..while some days can freeze at dawn.
Some years are more flourishing than others..

Thus, don’t forget that all of random vineyards face countless risks throughout the years, depending on climatic variations, varying from one year to another. Consequently, three parameters define the vintage notion, namely annual rainfall, sunshine and temperature. Therefore, some specific years develop very distinct personalities with different temperatures, vegetative cycles or even bad weather, de facto governing the upcoming profile and personality of those wines. Thereafter, the millesimes correspond to the year of birth of the related wines and is logically almost always specified on the bottle labels.  

On top of that, the cultivation in a mono grape varietal may be, in the mean time, a force because the soil can express itself more purely, essentially through its grape variety, when it’s the most adapted to the local conditions. However it could also be a weakness due to the climatic variations, not possibly compensated by a second grape variety (photo credits: Yann de la Calle/Jean Durup).
Then, the evolution of each vintage differs, from one period to another, in specific aspects, such as its color, its aromas and its structure. The older it gets, the more its intensity and clarity will decrease, while some aromas will reveal themselves like spices, dried fruits and roasting, while other ones would somehow remain. In another hand, a young red wine, born in a firm shape, may become more and more velvety with time. In parallel, a lively young white wine may as well become rounder over time.

First, let’s introduce some multiple major options of white wines… 
Thus, a first category of white Burgundy wines are lively, light and fruity. They hold a golden crystalline color adorned with green reflections, including aromas that are generally expressed very early in time, especially on fruity and white flowered notes. These wines can be easily be paired with starters, salads and fishes.
For instance, this line may be illustrated by a Mâcon-Villages appellation of the year 2016, elaborated by the Domaine de la Jobeline, combining fruit and flexibility. For your information, this wine has a regional appellation with a complementary geographical name of Macon Verzé, which spans 60 hectares with Chardonnay and Gamay.
Another part of the white wines from Burgundy, are supple, intense and floral, with pale yellow nuances, sometimes turning into golden reflections. This could be found in the Village and Village Premier Crû appellations of Pernand-Vergelesses, (on 150 hectares).. Composed of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape varieties, such as Les Combottes 2017, elaborated by the Domaine Rapet.
Then, we can find other firm, tight and mineral white wines in Burgundy, mainly distinguished by their shades of pale gold and green reflections. Essentially displaying generous citrus notes, with a bit of iodized notes, they are ideal for accompanying fine fish, oysters and any other type of seafood dishes.
These characteristics could be found, in particular, in the famous Chablis and Chablis Premier Crû appellations. Those cover a large surface of Chardonnay, spread over more than 4000 hectares. An example given with a William Fevre‘s Chablis, straight from maybe the largest owner of Chablis grands crus, with more than fifteen hectares cultivated. Its vast vineyard and its large range of grands terroirs are enhanced by a meticulous organization, from plowing the soil, manual harvesting at the optimum date and even regulation of yields. Adding to this, a specific work is operated in non-certified organic culture since 2006, passing by some biodynamics for the premiers and grands crus. With the exception of Petit Chablis, where the vinification and aging are skilfully divided for each vintage between barrels and stainless steel vats (photo credits: William Fèvre).
Finally, the last but not least aspect of Burgundy white wines’ category, would be felt as ample, round and powerful, still with a couple of reflections, revealing a deep and complex nose. A mixture of softness and minerality, which would perfectly match with the finest and most elaborate dishes, such as lobster.
In this case, the Meursault appellations are a true prestige illustration of this style, marrying Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties, established on an exclusive production area of ​​almost 400 hectares, including 100 precious hectares of Premier Crû.
An elegant and delicate expression that you may find in the Meursault 2016, developed by Domaine Patrick Javillier, who favors a more classic approach for his wines, allowing them to evolve with grace and offering, after a few years in the cellar, a magnificent and typical expression of the Meursault terroirs (photo credits: Domaine Patrick Javillier).

In parallel, you may also find your happiness into some beautiful red red wines… 
Let’s move now towards Burgundy red wines, where different styles are also emerging. There, you would find fruity and above all, fine and elegant juices! Indeed, most of them usually wear shiny transparent ruby ​​dresses, reserving many gourmet aromas, ideal for cold cuts or light meats (photo credits: Domaine de la Luolle).
A style illustrated by the Côte Chalonnaise appellation, still extracted from a regional vineyard on more than 400 hectares of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, like the Domaine de la Luolle. By the way, this house operates 8 ha in organic and biodynamic methods, along its multiple tasty red wines and pretty crémants.
..into a white and blue core.
A focus on this notorious Pinot Noir

In addition, there are other kinds of supple red wines, enriched with a brilliant and limpid ruby ​​robe, to express aromas of red fruits, including plum and morello cherry flavors. This alloy offers a silky finish, that would allow you to accompany simmered dishes, including poultry.

This flexibility is notably revealed in the Monthélie appellation, located on an area of ​​120 hectares, mainly employing the illustrious Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape varieties. Moreover, this territory is undoubtedly the most photographed in Burgundy, offering one of the most beautiful points of view of this.
In this case, the Domaine Brigitte Berthelemot would be a good example. This wine house was founded in 2006 and now covers eight hectares and sixteen climates between Beaune and Santenay, even with a HVE (High Environmental Value) qualification since 2015.
..inside the floral cloyster.
In front of the castle..

At last, the section of solid and tannic red wines is dressed in an intense garnet red color, full of wild black fruits aromas, eventually to marry with a gastronomic universe. The Mercurey appellation, spread over 600 hectares (150 hectares of premier cru), represents it well with its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties.

Filled with voluptuous liquorice and spicy notes, to combine with forest dishes, the prestigious Clos de Vougeot, a legendary Grand Cru appellation, would represent the best those assets. Spread through a limited parcel of 49 hectares, this historical site to visit is also famous for its Tastevin Fraternity (for more information, read our previous article about a Burgundy rally). 
BIVB / 12 Boulevard Bretonnière, 21204 Beaune (France) / Phone : 00 33 (0)3 80 25 04 80.

…and the Louis Jadot‘s skylight
…would make you kiss Bacchus?

For example, many prestige wine houses opens its doors to those visitors, in the occasion of private visits, like the Maison Louis Jadot, although this Beaune domain normally hosts very few guests and only possible on booking. 

Situated in a recent but stylish headquarters, the building dates from 1997 with multiple references to the logo of the house, a symbol of Bacchus, dating from the house birth in 1859, that additionally adorns the facade.
From where, the red wine vat room is directly accessible from the entrance hall, organized around a patio, from where start the tours. This experience is followed by the crossing into the prestigious cellar, where mature many liters of parcels. 

until the massive steel barrels…
Straight from the barrel…

Depending on their desires, the passing visitors would surely be amazed to have a deepened by a wine sampling at the end of the visit. Revealing the long history of this Burgundy winery, which exports most of its production to North-America, where it’s much appreciated and renowned. 

The Maison Louis Jadot was founded in 1859 and has been evolving, since then, both its own vineyards (on a surface of 250 hectares but with various plot sizes) and also buys grapes from other growers. It’s vine properties extend from Burgundy (including Beaujolais Crus), where it only produces Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) wines, through the Mâconnais region, with the Domaine Ferret in Fuissé and until the Beaujolais region, within the Moulin à Vent and also its Château des Jacques this private tasting session.
Luckily this 2018 millesime is here..

Finally, since 1996, the Maison Louis Jadot launched a partnership with the Tonnellerie Vicard and created its own cooperage, baptized Tonnellerie Cadus, in order to produce French oak barrels crafted in the Burgundian tradition.

At the occasion of the celebration of the Jadot’s 150th anniversary, a special cuvée was launched through a blend from several Premier Cru Climates within the Beaune appellation. A series initially inaugurated with the 2009 vintage, so successful that it has been followed-up in special years such as 2012, 2015 and now the dedicated release of 2018. This collector bottle offers a very smooth and silky texture, through a set of crunchy red berry notes on a light vanilla, in the background. 

Maison Louis Jadot, 62 Route de Savigny, 21200 Beaune (France) / Phone: 00 33 (0)3 80 22 10 57

Otherwise, why don’t you get tempted by the delicious creations of Jacques Bavard? This former Parisian restaurateur, displaying his own vision of Burgundy gastronomy, among a wine selection, coming straight from historic estates and personal discoveries. After a deep reflexion in this inspiring cellar, Jacques Bavard decided to lead the second part of his life coming back to his own roots in Puligny; where we acquired the family domain in 2003 (photo credits: Jacques Bavard).

Establishing his first vintage in 2005, this wine adventurer decided to transmit his heritage of excellence, supporting a selection of grapes, that are vinified and aged in the ancestral cellars.

Briefly, their daily hard work relies from March with plot monitoring and then follows the vegetative development every three weeks on average. As a passionate winegrower involved in his estate, Jacques Bavard prefers harvests enhancing freshness and minerality for the white grapes, along optimum maturity (without random excess) for the red ones, in order to preserve the inner structure. Adding to this, their plots are not assembled, and their purchases are limited to a maximum of 10 pieces.

As far as we know, a great care is taken at all times of the harvest, while a cautious sorting in the vineyard and upon receipt in these vaulted cellars, to ensure an irreproachable sanitary quality.

For your information, the white grains are matured in 350l barrels for the most part, 12 months fully made in wood along a real blending, extending from 4 to 6 months in stainless steel vats, in order to give to wine its full expression. The result is an aromatic structure spread through their wines, a cold maceration for 10 to 12 days, pouring into same proportion of new barrels as for the white grapes.

Nonetheless, their wines are fined to allow them to reveal their full aromatic potential, and a very light filtration is applied if necessary, in order to avoid any tasting drifts relating to the presence of proteins. Their wines are bottled under Aligal, a neutral typed gas, and a great care was brought on a top quality cork.

By the way, each wine has its own characteristics, resulting from the unique elements that form the terroir of each plot, such as the clay-limestone soil of Puligny-Montrachet which provides to white wines a mineral and an elegant texture which has made their reputation.

Don’t miss that their wines, from the Chardonnay grape variety, result from moderate yields, with a slow and long fermentation, with a delicate nose of white flowers that reveal as really powerful, responding to one of the most beautiful Chardonnay expressions.

Without forgetting that the Pinot Noir selection is aged in the genuine Burgundian tradition in oak barrels, presents a bright ruby color, strong of fine tannins, aromas of small red fruits, and black cherries.

Following our advice, have a look into their Saint Romain range, straight from the village, anchored in a cool climate full of rocky soils in the Hauts-Jarrons. Thus, this terroir borders the end of the Pinot Noir coast and the beginning of the Chardonnay sanctuary, fulfilling a wine embodied with the typical notes of minerality and able to balance between citrus, pink grapefruit and exotic fruity notes at the same time. It’s undoubtedly a very typical Burgundy nectar, revealing a rich and precise aromatic approach on the quince which definitively develops intensely in your palate.
Domaine Jacques Bavard / 18 Grande Rue, 21190 Puligny-Montrachet (France) / Phone : 00 33 (0)3 80 21 33 06. More information on the official website.

Then, when it comes to Chablis, think about the selection of the Jean Durup family. This long generation of winemakers have been following from father to son, operating vines in Chablis since 1560. For instance, from a heritage of 2 hectares of vines until the actual 170 hectares, Jean Durup reconstituted the vineyard around the Château de Maligny, where his ancestor Paul Gally stayed in the 19th century.

Nowadays, the properties of the Durup family own one of the highest proportion of well-exposed vines in Burgundy, enriched with a stony soil and very steep slopes, guaranteeing an exceptional quality of the wines. Furthermore, their production covers the Petit Chablis, Chablis and various Chablis 1er Cru appellations, located on the steepest terroirs with the poorest soils, increasing its quality factor.

Moreover, the vinifications are carried out in the purest tradition of the surrounding terroir, so to say in vats, in order to preserve the natural aromas of these wines, full of Chardonnay, which is the only grape variety authorized to produce Chablis.

Concretely, let’s get into the Chablis 1er cru Fourchaume 2018, anchored in L’Eglantière domain, strong with a vinification combining technical innovations and respect the secular tradition, still in vats regarding the Chablis tradition. Thus, the main part of this appellation is concentrated in the town of Maligny, located in famous localities of Ardillier, Grande Côte, Bois Séguin and L’Homme Mort (photo credits: Yann de la Calle/Jean Durup).

In fact, these vineyards hold mainly with a western orientation, while some other plots face the southern side and are generally located in small valleys, whose microclimate favors a certain concentration and richness.

The result is a round and supple wine, with a good structure typical of the Chablis Premiers Crus, thanks a sweet hawthorn fragrance, followed by a hint of lemon, before a round and flexible personality in your palate. In fact, this wine would easily gain by aging a few years to express itself, at its real value and let you feel its inner acidity. Last but not least, like other white wines, this Chablis 1er Cru wonderfully matches with fine fish dishes.

More information on the official website and the online store of Vignobles & Signatures.

…until your wine tasting glass!
From the Collégiale Notre Dame..

A good material to start your training at the École des Vins of Beaune, as one of those promotion organs for the cause of those Vins de Bourgogne. Created in 1974 in the heart of the vineyard, this new age school, is registered as an official training center and also by Atout France as travel operator. Thus, it proposes a dozen of different formulas, from 2 to 5 days, flexible according to your centers of interest, time and financial resources. Along these, various oenological journeys and tailor-made courses are also offered in many languages ​​for groups (photo credits: Alex Plato).

The future (or current) students, whatever their backgrounds, professional or not, are more than welcome for initiation or tuition programs
Those classes cover plenty of different topics, inherent to the knowledge and experience regarding Burgundy wine thematics and its surroundings. 
The programs are fully illustrated by interactive or blind tastings, of Burgundy wines, straight from the prestige cellars of the BIVB. This huge and precious wine reserve is a real treasure, supplied by the selected contributions of the local wineries. Then, you would have an experience of the best Burgundy wine bottles to complete the theory given by oenologist experts, in 2 high-tech amphitheater classrooms. 
You have to know that any random wine sampling may be marked at each technical stage: in the vineyard, in the winery and in the cellar. So that certain parameters may emerge such as tannins or, conversely, dissolved oxygen, more prone to headaches (photo credits: BIVB). 
..until the beautiful chais of Maison Albert Bichot.
From private sessions at Louis Jadot..

During your tuition, visits of local wineries are also possible, where you would admire behind the scenes… and then better understand the work achieved in and around, by winemakers. This sightseeing may also be extended in the grapevines and in many other typical sites, dedicated to this so coveted regional exchequer (photo credits: Alex Plato).  

You may witness on the spot that the winemaker‘s touch plays a lot naturally in the development of his product and thus, his brand image. This results varies regarding the choice of vine plots, grape varieties, organic cultivation, plus the selection of the proper harvest date or the planting density. And the more in compliance with regulations and as well an authentic collective tradition.


You would learn that many decisions in the winemaker‘s strategy have also a lot to do regarding the evolution of their juice, in line with the style of the breeder. This character would eventually choose different parameters when deciding the different ages and origins of the related barrels or stainless steel tanks, as well as their aging time. Indeed, mastering techniques is essential, in order to avoid losing anything of the potential offered by Mother Nature
The tuition programs may last from a couple of hours to a many days workshop. In the initiation ones, you would learn, first of all, the basics about the cartography of the different families of Burgundy wines.

..and this 1er cru!
Follow the news of the Comédie du Vin!

Another strong part of the tuition, how to pair your meal with wine… Always a long dilemma! 

The food and wine pairing basic notions are also mentioned throughout a workshop around classic dishes such as foie gras, which the usual codes of service may be broken, thanks to a sweet wine. For instance, this session may be settled in the Comédie du Vin, still in Beaune. This former municipal Casino, hosts now many events around winery thematics (photo credits: Alex Plato).

For example, here is a white wine, a Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Crû, aged 12 months in barrels and without racking by the Domaine Bachey-Legros. On the other hand, another option was offered with the red Gevrey-Chambertin wine, entirely composed of pinot noir (photo credits: SamediVin).

Then, to match with an other classics, either a marinated or smoked salmon, why not a Chablis Premier Crû ? This time, this Chardonnay developed by the Domaine Besson, for 18 months, in stainless steel tanks.

This aerial wine contrasts with the Puligny-Montrachet Premier Crû 2016, from the prestigious Domaine Louis Latour, fermented in oak barrels, for 8 to 10 months. For your information, the origins of Maison Latour in Burgundy date back to 1787, more precisely in Aloxe-Corton and then subsequently built up an estate of 50 hectares in total. In the village of Aloxe-Corton, this juicy family also owns the Château and the Corton Grancey winery. Dating from 1834, this winery was at the time the only building of this type built for wine purpose.In 1997, year of celebration of its bicentenary, the Louis Latour house was admitted into the very closed circle of the Henokians. This club brings together companies from all continents, which have been family-owned for 200 years or more and still bear the name of their founder.


…and a Crémant with the macaron!
Naturally, red wine for roast-beef…

Here, another scenario offered by an ox and its vegetables, typically served in Burgundy restaurants.

The BIVB prestige cellar thus offered two red wines. The first is a light organic Pinot Noir Bourgogne Épineuil Santenay Premier Crû wine, produced by the Domaine Dominique Gruhier, installed since 1990 in the Petit Quincy Abbey.
A real concentrate of naturalness, and its ingredients sometimes flowery and sometimes rustic.
The second, a Santenay Premier Crû, from the bicentennial Maison Prosper Maufoux, a Pinot Noir matured in oak barrels between 14 and 16 months for a very fluid rendering.
A last rehearsal with a product not mentioned before, the Crémant de Bourgogne… Its production has doubled in 10 years, going from 6% to 12% of total production in Burgundy. A good reason to pay attention to this sparkling wine
Ecole des Vins de Bourgogne / 6 Rue du 16éme Chasseurs, 21200 Beaune (France) / Phone: 00 33 (0)3 80 26 35 10. For more information about the formations and the next programs, feel free to have a visit on the official website.

…travel through the wooden model
Get into this antique edifice and…

If you would go deeper into the rich Burgundy vineyard heritage, and especially its legendary Burgundy Climates (registered at the UNESCO list), we advise to have a tour at the small but informative, Maison des Climats in Beaune.

This intimist setting, facing the Beaune Tourism Office, offers in particular a digital fresco, adorned with a soft sound design, along a map over 9 meters long, showing the Côtes de Nuits and Beaune vineyards. This space explores many facets regarding history, toponymy and geology of those Climates. Some additional information files complete your discovery path, as well as on emblematic places of this historic construction.

Thereafter, a selection of digital devices enrich this scenographic installation, thanks to new sound modules and tactile tablets, available on the way.

..Or admire in this breathtaking vineyard hill?
Which climate would you opt for in this wine bar?

A real opportunity to learn more about this wide and complex territory, before visiting any future vineyard landscapes, this exhibition is a very good introduction to any wine sampling or further sightseeing.

Through a short film, a large model of the vineyards and a historical frieze, the Maison des Climats provides the keys to better understand how the notion of terroir, notably in the Côte d’Or department, was built over 2000 years… and to discover all cultural and patrimonial heritage, resulting from this.

The added value of this permanent exhibition is a real pedagogical tool and otherwise to offer, in addition to 10 digital tablets, for a simple and fun discovery from the realization. In an other hand, thanks to an augmented reality equipment, everyone may visualize the 1247 Climates‘ names, observe the different appellations areas, while admiring the historic monuments and traveling through the ages.

Maison des Climats / Porte Marie de Bourgogne, 6 Boulevard Perpreuil, 21200 Beaune (France) / Open everyday from 9.30am to 12.30pm and from 1.30pm to 6pm / Free entrance / Phone : 00 (33) 3 80 20 10 40.

True colors shining through the vineyards…

Once ready for some vineyard trips that would lead you as well to a farandole of other bucolic points of interest, such as staples of gastronomy and events. 

For example, Les Musicaves de Meursault at each end of May, is always a good reason for hosting a training course about Grands Crûs over 3 juicy days.
Those many complex wines would not be a mystery anymore to you.. Therefore, you would be able to distinguish the nuances, from one year to another, depending on the multyiple tannins. Prime example and first tuition step, there is no Grand Crû appellation in Volnay, Meursault and Pommard.
“You have to learn oenology so you don’t have to use it.”  Louis Jaillet
A futuristic project for wine enthusiasts..

A good waiting transition before the arrival of the Cité des Vins et des Climats de Bourgogne that would be soon inaugurated in Beaune! The opening to visitors to this huge museum, dedicated to the Burgundian winery, is announced during the summer of 2021.

The visit of this futuristic building, would include a tour, workshops, temporary exhibitions, shops and information spaces… The architect Emmanuelle Andreani and the Groupe Rougeot will design the future Beaune ensemble, in a style that evokes the tendril of the vine wrapping around the trellis wire. The binomial, contracting with the City of Beaune, will work in close collaboration with the Burgundy Wine Interprofessional Office (BIVB) and the Climats de Bourgogne vineyard association.

The Cité des Vins et des Climats de Bourgogne is a cultural and tourist project dedicated to Burgundy, its numerous wines and climates. It would be available in three sites in Beaune, Chablis and Mâcon, in order to reflect, as precisely as possible, the local offer and allow visitors to discover the many facets of this rich region (photo credits: BIVB).
For more information, connect on the official website.

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