BOURGOGNE (Burgundy)


Why Bourgogne?

What drives the obsession? The risk is high, but the payoff can be even higher. Those who love a gamble can appreciate the stakes Burgundian winemakers face with each vintage.

It's no coincidence that we see producers passing along their tradition from one generation to the next, benefiting from more than 1200 years of winemaking history in the region. Pinot Noir was first established with the Benedictines' Abbey of Cluny in 910, then carried along to the Cistercians, who created the walled vineyard Clos de Vougeot in 1336, and finally to the bourgeoisie in the 17th century. At the time of the French Revolution, any vineyards still associated with the church were broken up and sold off.

Pinot Noir is the primary grape used for red wine in Bourgogne (Chardonnay was planted much more recently in the region). It is a delicate grape with thin skin that makes it vulnerable; it is rot-and-virus prone, and its vinification is a no tolerance process that creates a fine line between success and failure. Add to that a region known for its volatile weather -- hail storms, frosts, and cool summer months which can prevent fruit from fully ripening -- and you get a very difficult wine to make well.

Skilled producers can make good wine from a mediocre vintage, i.e. one in which weather conditions were not optimal. But when mother nature cooperates, these same producers can make exceptional wines. It is our goal to bring you the best selection possible from each vintage, which is why we make our annual tasting visits to France.

Every year since 1979, we've been visiting Bourgogne in order to find the finest producers offering the best values. We may taste from a particular producer's wines three or four consecutive vintages before bringing the wine to our store. This ensures not only quality but consistency. We pride ourselves in being able to offer only wines that we have tasted and that have met our cost to quality ratio standards. Our long-term relationships also ensure that we are able to procure wine from even the most sought after producers in the region.

Côte d'Or (The Coast of Gold)

The Côte d'Or is further divided into the Côte de Nuits to the north and the Côte de Beaune in the south. We like to carry a selection from both regions so as to represent the great diversity of Burgundian wines. It would be unfair to claim that wines are one way to the north and another in the south, but there are characteristics more common to the terroir in either part of the Côte d'Or. The primary difference between the two halves of this famous region is the more variable geology in the south which thankfully allows the Chardonnay grape to thrive, and become what many consider to be the best dry white wines in the world.

Cote de Nuits

Cote de Nuits

Côte de Beaune

Cote de Beaune


Click here to learn about our individual producers in Burgundy.