Humpty Dumpty fell off his bike – Humpty Dumpty is back together! My travels in France were suddenly interrupted by a cycling crash in Burgundy’s vineyards but after healing 6 broken ribs and surgery at Hospital Special Surgery, NY to repair a fractured shoulder, I’m back. My left arm is immobilized in a sling but the right arm can write and hold a glass of wine!
Despite my misfortune, the experience in Burgundy is unlike any other wine region. Other regions date back to Roman and Greek times but monks in medieval times drew land maps of Burgundy climats (vineyards) that are still in use today. Monasteries created vineyard plots based on terroir (land in French) which includes soil type, sun exposure, climate and elevation. Terroir is more important than anywhere else in world and is the sole basis for Burgundy wine classifications.
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%
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. We were fortunate to spend an afternoon with Faiveley ambassador to taste the 10 wines below.
Cheers, Bob the Wineguy
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