The Côte d'Or reaches out for a few miles beyond Beaune.
The name, reminding one rather of coast lines and sea, refers to the impression
one gets when the leaves turn golden among the wide, vast vineyards. In
the Côte d'Or Burgundy's most famous red and white wines are grown.
For the red wines almost only Pinot Noir is used - for the more
or less rare and simple Bourgogne Passetoutgrain Gamay is
also grown. White Burgundies are made from Chardonnay. Besides,
there is some Aligoté for wines that are to be drunk fresh
and young, and finally there is a bit of Pinot Blanc
Burgundy is one of the most complicated wine growing areas in the world.
It has a treasure that is scarcely to be overlooked. The government's
regulations about the quality of wine are not measured by the natural
sugar within the grapes or given to a certain owner. The vineyard's very
position, the climate, is also judged. The different classifications start
with the simple Bourgogne climate. Red and white Burgogne are grown.
(Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire, Bourgogne Passetoutgrain, Bourgogne
Pinot Noir, Bourgogne Chardonnay, and also Bourgogne Aligoté).
The next set of classifications are the climates of the villages which
are added to the appellation of a certain village (e.g. Gevrey-Chambertin,
Chambolle-Musigny, Volnay). They are followed by several
climates of the villages which are recognized as Premier Cru (e.g.
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras) and finally by altogether 32
Grand Cru climates of the Côte d'Or (e.g. Musigny,
Richebourg, Chambertin) - so to speak, those partitions
of the several slopes that are recognized as yielding the greatest wines.
Many of those climates were spread among several owners. Therefore it
is additionally of great importance to judge the quality of the several
products of a vinter. That is why there are many producers, e.g., of the
great Grand Cru climate Corton, but just aside, there are others
who make a rather simple Corton wine.
The system of classification in Burgundy judges the terroir,
the soil and the unique characteristics of the terroirs that are
to be unfolded in the wine. This should mark out Burgundy's successful
wines and is supposed to be one of the major attributes to destinguish
between several appellations.
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