There are three dominating types of wine that come out of the Burgundy wine region, and those include dry white wines, full-body red wines and medium-body red wines. It is rare to see a blended Burgundy wine. Most Burgundy reds are made from a single grape, the Pinot Noir. And most Burgundy whites are made of 100 percent Chardonnay grapes. [source: Terroir France].
Pinot Noir grapes and Chardonnay grapes are not the only grapes grown in the Burgundy wine region. There are two other grapes grown in the region. Primarily used to create less expensive wines, these two varieties are Gamay, used for making red wines, and Aligoté, for making white wines. These second-tier varieties become more common the farther south you travel into the Burgundy region [source: Cannavan].
Aside from the major varieties of grapes grown in the Burgundy region, there are some grape varieties that are grown in smaller amounts, simply because they aren't as popular. Saint-Bris AOC wine is made from Sauvignon and Grey Sauvignon grapes. And winemakers use Tressot and Cesar grapes to produce White Burgundy Grand Ordinaire in the Yonne district [source: Burgundy Wines].
The juice from Chardonnay grapes, which is described as "deliciously sweet," is used to create white wines of the Cote de Beaune, Cote Chalonnaise, Maconnais and Chablis district. The juice from Pinot Noir grapes is actually colorless, even though the skin is purplish-black. Interestingly, the Pinot Noir grape is used for making champagne, but when its skin is fermented and processed with the juice, the result is the rich red hue famous in Burgundy reds. [source: Burgundy Wines].
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Burgundy Wines. "Grape Varieties." (Accessed 2/9/09) http://www.burgundy-wines.fr/index.php?p=226&art_id=
- Burgundy Wines. "History." (Accessed 2/9/09) http://www.burgundy-wines.fr/index.php?p=84&art_id=&PHPSESSID=b9d2f498ca0a7aba9ea6d78e5b565183
- Burgundy Wines. "The Official Burgundy Wines Website." (Accessed 2/7/09) http://www.burgundy-wines.fr/
- Cannavan, Tom. "Burgundy." (Accessed 2/7/09) http://www.wine-pages.com/resources/burgexp.htm
- Saunders, Donald. "The Burgundy Wine Region of France." (Accessed 2/9/09) http://www.buzzle.com/articles/the-burgundy-wine-region-of-france.html
- Sonkin, Loren. "Chablis: History and Recommendations for the Great Burgundy White Wine." (Accessed 2/9/09) http://www.intowine.com/chablis-history-recommendations-great-burgundy-white-wine
- Tasting Wine. "French Wine Regions." (Accessed 2/7/09) http://www.tasting-wine.com/articles/wine-regions-and-areas/french-wine-regions/index.php
- Terroir France. "Burgundy." (Accessed 2/9/09) http://www.terroir-france.com/wine/bourgogne_winemaking.htm
- Wine Education. "Burgundy, France." (Accessed 2/7/09) http://www.wineeducation.com/regburg.html
- Wine Pros. "Appellation d'Origine Controlée." (Accessed 2/9/09) http://www.winepros.org/wine101/vincyc-aoc.htm