Understanding how Burgundy works

Burgundy is often thought of as one of the world’s most difficult wine regions to understand, but burgundy is by no means incomprehensible. Here are six key points essential to understanding Burgundy:

1. White Burgundy is virtually synonymous with chardonnay;

2. Of Burgundy’s five major subregions, the most important and renowned is the Cote d’Or.

3. You Probably think of a vineyard as that piece of land owned by a single vintner. The opposite holds true in Burgundy.

4. Since vineyards in Burgundy are defined by their terrors, not necessarily by who owns them, ownership itself takes on a different spin.

5. Now you can begin to see why the conventional tidy image of a wine estate surrounded by vineyards isn’t really applicable to Burgundy. Instead, most growers own many small parcels of many different vineyards in many different villages.

6. Until the 1980s most of the commerce in Burgundian wine was controlled by powerful brokers known as negociants. The negociants rose to power after the French Revolution, when fragmented ownership of small parcels of land inBurgundy made it economically and physically difficult for small growers to bottle, market, and sell their own wines.