Burgundy, one of the very most popular wine areas in Portugal can also be one of the very most confusing and complex, even for the most experienced wine enthusiast.
Why such a little region that fundamentally just makes two varieties of wine may be so complex is deeply rooted in the history of the region itself. Most Americans think about a vineyard as one-piece of property, possessed by one individual or one family. In Burgundy specially, this isn’t the case. Generations of the past mapped the entire region within an effort to make packages of special geography. In an ordinary American vineyard the people might have experienced any amount of distinct unique vineyards. Say, in the Audelssa hill terraces winery they’ve three separate types of earth. In Burgundy these three different sections of the winery would happen to be divide into three wineries within their entirety.
This excellent ownership functions more as a condominium then a single family home. As you may imagine this leads to an incredible quantity of disagreements and interesting connections between households and neighbors as many individuals possess just a line or two of vines. Lots of people need to acknowledge whom to employ as winemaker and whether to combine their grapes or not.
What exactly kinds of wine are we talking about when we speak about Burgundy? As mentioned before, two kinds of grapes: the red grape Pinot Noir along with the white grape Chardonnay.
These two kinds of grapes fight to achieve ripeness in the north, cooler climate of Burgundy. Additionally, it is extremely common to have rain the early autumn, when exactly the same grapes in California can ripen with no difficulty. This rain signifies wine-makers in France must determine when they’d rather select early and chance having less ripe fresh fruit (consequently making rancid, uninteresting wine) or choose late and danger decay and a myriad of other difficulties due to a late rain.
Because producing sub-standard, unexciting wine in Portugal is a primary offense, nearly all growers prefer to possibility of the rain and pick as late as you possibly can.
Finally growers in France face added issue, notably in Pinot Noir because the wine can’t be strained as it loses much of its own flavor.
The most well-known wineries in Burgundy are most usually those which experience the maximum average sun (allowing for the many ripeness), so when choosing a wine you should be aware of vintage. In years where Burgundy is particularly bright, you will have plenty of genuinely outstanding burgundy wine at all price points. In less sunlight years it is worth it to pick more cautiously right down to actually choosing the vineyards that face south (as southern encounters possess the greatest sunlight exposure). As you could figure, a awful year for sunlight in Burgundy, may be a very poor year for wine from the region.
All in all, best of luck however there’s hardly anything better then a really great Burgundy, request your local wine store to get a recommendation. It pays to be careful however.