Burgundy is bewildering, said Joseph Ward in The Washington Post. This French wine region produces some of the world’s best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But even wine lovers familiar with the byways of Bordeaux, Napa Valley, or the Rhône “throw up their hands when given a Burgundy list.”
Unlike Bordeaux wines that are classified by château, those of Burgundy are classified by village and/or vineyard. Translation: There is only one Château Petrus in Bordeaux, for instance, but many eminent Burgundy vineyards share the name Chambertin. The challenge is finding which are the very best. Here is a guide to the five levels of the Burgundy pyramid, from the moderately priced good (Bourgogne) to the very expensive great (Grand Cru).
Bourgogne Blanc Terroirs de Côte d’Or Verget ($16) “Crisp, fresh, some citrus.” A very good white—usually a Chardonnay, though Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris are sometimes used.
Côte de Nuits Villages 2005 Bertrand Ambroise ($33) A bit rustic, but a nicely structured Pinot Noir.
Petit Chablis 2006 Louis Michel ($23) A Chardonnay that’s not at all oaky; “lots of acidity.”
Gevrey-Chambertin 2005 Louis Jadot ($45) A very well made Pinot Noir. Also a bargain.
Chambolle-Musigny 2006 Joseph Drouhin ($65) An “elegant, perfumed” Pinot Noir.
Chablis Fourchaume Vignoble de Vaulorent 2006 William Fèvre ($65) “I can never understand why the great wines of Chablis aren’t more popular.” A splendid Chardonnay.
Chambertin Close de Beze 2006 Faiveley ($230) Simply superb. A Pinot Noir “built for the long haul.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Mike Huckabee's head-scratching advice to Christian voters
- How Scotland's independence movement lost the vote and still won everything
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- The American middle class is no longer safe from poverty — and that might be a good thing
- The Tea Party has its own immigration problem: Cuba
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
Subscribe to the Week