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Humpty Dumpty fell off his bike – Humpty Dumpty is back together! My travels in France were interrupted by a cycling crash but after surgery at Hospital Special Surgery, NY to repair a fractured shoulder, I shall return. My left arm is immobilized in a sling for 4 weeks but the right arm will work for writing and sipping wine!

Despite my misfortune, the experience in Burgundy is unlike any other wine region. Some regions date back to Roman and Greek times but Burgundy monks in medieval times drew land maps to identify ownership and vineyard boundaries. Monasteries defined their vineyard plots based on terroir (land in French) which includes soil type, sun exposure, climate and elevation. The sense of terroir is more applicable than anywhere else in world and it is the basis for Burgundy wine classifications.

burgundy bob vineyard3

Burgundy has four classifications of wine:

  • GRAND CRU (great growth in French) is the highest classification of Burgundy wine, the best red and white. Grand Crus come from one of 34 vineyards and represent only 2% of Burgundy wine.
  • 1ER (PREMIER) CRU – 18% (534 vineyards)
  • VILLAGES – 30%
  • VIN DE BOURGOGNE (Burgundy in French) – 50%

Burgundy Classes PieChart 250x250

Generations of family inheritance have created vineyard plots with many owners, some parcels with only a few rows. The diverse ownership and classification system make Burgundy wines difficult to understand and not surprisingly, Burgundy is not popular to average US consumer. If you enjoy drinking Pinot Noir (red Burgundy) or Chardonnay (white Burgundy), there are affordable Burgundy wines in Villages and Vin de Bourgogne categories.

We visited DOMAINE FAIVELEY,  a reputable estate, founded two centuries ago and now run by 7th family generation. Production is 800,000 bottles per year and includes 12 Grand Crus and 25 Premiere Crus.  Use this link to see Faiveley wines in all four categories.

burgundy faiveley lineup 350x190

Tasting lineup – 2 Grand Crus / 3 Premier Crus

Cheers, Bob the Wineguy
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