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White Burgundy – Discovering Chardonnay at its Finest!
White Burgundy is quite simply a white wine that is made in the Burgundy region of France. But it’s so much more than that – arguably, the best white wines in the world!
And although this region is celebrated for its Pinot Noirs, white burgundy wines are becoming increasingly popular. Even producing wines that can be compared to their red counterpart – which is saying ALOT!
So, let’s find out why Burgundy just might be the best wine region in the world!
Table of Contents
What is White Burgundy?
White Burgundy, also known as Bourgogne Blanc, is a white wine made from Chardonnay grapes grown in Burgundy (Bourgogne). And these wines produced are characterized by their complex yet subtle flavors and aromas, becoming an iconic benchmark for white wines worldwide.
Furthermore, White Burgundy comes in four (4) main geographical areas, with wines from each area displaying a unique flavor profile and price point.
Wine Regions of White Burgundy
- Chablis is the northernmost white Burgundy region and produces unoaked white wines with tart minerality with flinty and steely notes. And they are lean yet structured white wines that are pretty much your complete opposite to California buttery Chardonnays.
- Côte de Beaune is where you will find white Burgundy made from the Chardonnay grape at its finest. Typically, these white wines are aged in oak barrels that produce the rich and creamy texture. Additionally, they are filled with expressive aromas of white flowers, citrus fruits, butter and toast. Plus, these white wines can easily age for several decades if cellared properly. Lastly, these will be some of the most expensive white wines in the world!
- Côte Chalonnaise lies south of Côte d’Or and makes Chardonnay along with a few white wines from the Aligoté grape. Additionally, there are no Grand Cru vineyards in this region.
- The Mâconnais lies at the southern end of Burgundy and produces white wines made from Chardonnay (represents 80% of all grapes in this region) with a more fruit-forward and lighter style than the white Burgundies from Côte de Beaune. And it’s most recognized for its good value, easy drinking white wines crafted from the Chardonnay grape, with Pouilly-Fuissé being particularly well renowned.
Classification of Burgundy Appellations
Burgundy is typically categorized by a quality ranking system based on its geographical region. And the four levels are Bourgogne (Régionale), Village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru.
- Regional – On the bottle, you’ll find the word “Appellation Bourgogne” (Burgundy). And these are blended white wines from the entire region without specifying any village or vineyard name. But they offer an approachable introduction to white Burgundian style.
- Village – Wines are labeled with the village name and can come from any vineyard in that village.
- Premier Cru – These wines come from a specific Premier Cru (1er) designated vineyard/single plots within an appellation Village. And you will find a true expression of terroir and more complexity in the wines.
- Grand Cru – Made exclusively from grapes grown in a Grand Cru designated vineyard and command higher prices. Typically situated at middle to top of the sloping terrains, there lies a small parcel of land that has been proven to possess superior soil composition for producing the best Chardonnays in the world!
What Does White Burgundy Taste Like?
Burgundy produces five (5) distinctly different areas of white wines that each feature their own terroir and flavor profile.
- Bourgogne Blanc: Easy-drinking, light-bodied, unoaked wines with mineral and fresh apple and citrus notes.
- Chablis: Also, known for unoaked wines but have more floral and flinty aromas with fruit flavors of tart citrus. And it’s a dry, lean, light-bodied wine with notes of salinity and minerality.
- Mâconnais: Along with being the most affordable, this wine has delightful fruit forward flavors of yellow apples, citrus and tropical fruits. And when it comes to premium Mâconnais Chardonnay, you can expect to find fragrant notes of sweet baking spices and oak on the nose. However, its signature fruitiness is sure to be more prominent than that found in a Chablis, yet without its notable mineral edge and high acidity.
- Côte Chalonnaise: Another wine with complex aromas and flavors are composed of white flowers, dried apricots complemented by zesty lemon hints and a hint of warm brioche with honey.
- Côte de Beaune: Simply the best dry white wines in the world! Read more…
Is White Burgundy Expensive?
Yes and no.
The white Burgundies from the Côte de Beaune, especially those that are classified as Grand Cru, will be some of, if not, the most expensive white wines in the world. On the other hand, white Burgundy from Chablis and Mâconnais are often very affordable yet still offer great quality white wines.
From cost-effective Bourgogne Blanc to the most expensive Grand Cru, this region has something for everyone when it comes to white Burgundy. So you can explore a variety of unique flavor profiles and price points that will suit your own desires!
Why are they Expensive?
Because the word ‘Burgundy’ is a name brand in the world of wine that is synonymous with prestige and elegance, as this region of France has been the prime home/terroir for the best Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the world.
In addition, white Burgundy wines from Grand Cru vineyards such as Montrachet, Croton, or Bâtard-Montrachet will command a higher price tag due to the even smaller yields, very high demands, and additional labor required to grow grapes in these areas.
Is White Burgundy like Sauvignon Blanc?
No. White Burgundy is predominantly made from Chardonnay grapes.
And while some white Burgundy wines and Sauvignon Blancs do share some similarities such as aromas of white flowers, tropical fruits, citrus fruits, and other characteristics; they are vastly different wines with very different flavor profiles, texture, and body.
Is Pouilly-Fuissé a White Burgundy?
Yes. Pouilly-Fuissé is a famous white Burgundy from the Mâconnais region. And it’s made with 100% Chardonnay grapes with flavors of citrus fruits, white flowers, and white peaches with slight buttery notes and bright acidity.
Top 11 Best White Burgundy Wines
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1) Régnard Grand Régnard Chablis 2020 (Our Favorite)
I love the look of this bottle of wine and the aromas and flavors are even better! Because this wine is full of minerality and fruit aromas of peach, pear, apple, and lemons. Without a doubt, it’s just a fantastic wine to enjoy!
2) Daniel-Etienne Defaix Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2018 (Runner Up Favorite)
This wine is a great example of the Chablis style with its nice balance of minerality, white fruits, lemon zest, and refreshing acidity.
3) Matrot Meursault Blanc 2015
A full bodied white with bright acidity, this is a wonderful white wine with aromas of honey, minerals, ripe fruits and a hint of buttery oak.
4) Xavier Monnot Les Grandes Coutures Chardonnay Bourgogne 2019
Along with a great QPR, this white Burgundy offers wonderful aromas of citrus and green apples with a nice creaminess. And on the palate there is a lively acidity and minerality on the finish.
5) Domaine du Roc des Boutires Pouilly-Fuissé 2019
Of course, there wouldn’t be a white Burgundy list without one from the famous Pouilly-Fuissé region. And this white wine doesn’t disappoint with refreshing flavors of lemon, minerals, vanilla, and hint of honey.
6) Domaine Servin Vieilles Vignes Sélection Massale Chablis 2019 (Best Value Chablis)
Another wine from Chablis offers a great QPR. And, it’s filled with tasty aromas of honey, citrus, and green apples with a nice minerality and vibrant acidity on the finish.
7) Domaine de Montille Chassagne-Montrachet 2018
In addition to being made from grapes grown in the famous vineyards of Chassagne-Montrachet, this wine has an amazing balance and array of aromas and flavors that include apples, pears, peaches, and oak with a hint of minerals.
8) Fontaine-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc 2018
Another superb wine from the Chassagne-Montrachet region, it has a beautiful nose of peaches, green apples, pears, and citrus. With a slight creamy texture on the palate that leads to a long mineral finish.
9) Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune 1er Cru 'Clos Saint-Landry' Blanc 2017
Another wine made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, but this one is grown in the premier cru vineyard of Clos-Saint Landry. And it has amazing notes of honey, tropical fruits, brioche, and lemon zest with a nice mineral backbone throughout.
10) Château Fuissé Pouilly-Fuissé Tête de Cuvée 2020
Another lovely wine on this list with aromas and flavors of pears, green apples, citrus fruits, and minerals along with oak flavors of vanilla, honey, and sweet caramel.
11) Joseph Drouhin Meursault 2019
Famous winemaker plus famous region creates another fantastic wine. Along with this rich and creamy body, this wine has a well-balanced acidity. Additionally, it has inviting aromas and flavors of honey, stone fruits, lemon, and vanilla with a nice minerality on the finish with a hint of butter.
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