Probably one of the most famous wine production areas of the world stretches along a limestone escaprment running South from Dijon down to the town of Macon in central France. The majority of the area of Burgundy is made up of the region of Beaujolais (gamay grapes making red wines). Beaujolais has fallen a little out of favour in the UK post 1980's Beaujolais Nouveau boom. This involved the release of wines literally just after they had stopped fermenting. They were amazingly drinkable reds but had very little complexity. There time in the spotlight is well and truly over now.
The next biggest bit of Burgundy is just North of Beaujolais and mostly makes white wines (The Macon area). The most famous of its' wines is Pouilly Fuisse. A big, oaky, smooth wine that begs for some food. This wine is not to be confused (although often is) with Pouilly Fume which is a Sauvignon from the Loire river. Fume is light, crisp and seafood friendly ; Fuisse is big and beefy friendly. Fuisse is also made from that grape everyone loves to hate; Chardonnay.
Another few miles North starts to get really good in Burgundy. And when I say really good, what I really mean is really expensive. They have been making expensive wine here for centuries in walled off gardens (Clos in French means “enclosure”) to keep the pesky peasants (you and me) out. A little of the land in the vineyard of “Le Montrachet” changed hands this year, namely 0.04 hectares. I had to get the calculator out to figure how big that is in metres and it is 20 metres by 2 metres. That is a row of vines 70 feet long in old money. This changed hands to a billionaire for £20000. Roughly £1000 per plant. You don't buy plants like that in your local garden centre. Again, resorting to the calculator this means a hectare (2.2 acres) goes for £20 million, if ever a hectare got sold, and they generally don't. Each plant will give you a few bunches of grapes of Chardonnay every year and those bunches are made into a couple of bottles of wine selling at about £300 a bottle. Not a bad return on your investment!
Anyway, I'm off to Burgundy in two weeks with some customers to try some delights (not DRC sadly) and will report back on this year's chat from the most exclusive, overpriced, seductive, disappointing and yet often excellent, wine region in the world.