France: Burgundy

Mâconnais and northern Beaujolais

From Tournus to La Chapelle de Guinchay
By Michael Edwards

This Guide was last updated on 25 April 2011
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Main grape varieties


The grape variety of Beaujolais, most of which is vinified by carbonic maceration or semi-carbonic maceration enabling the fermenting wine to take its colour very quickly. However the Beaujolais Crus wines are produced in the traditional way, using greater skin contact (about seven days) and some may be oak-aged as well. It can also be used in the Mâconnais, blended with Pinot Noir, to produce Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains.

Pinot Noir
Very little is grown in this micro-region, it is relatively high in acid, and being thin-skinned, gives reds with a relatively light colour and tannin.


The principal and virtually only white grape variety allowed within Burgundy. A hardy vine, Chardonnay thrives well in Burgundy and marries well with oak, so many winemakers ferment and age the wine in barriques. Flavours vary widely depending on terroir and on winemaking methods, but it always gives wines of good structure that may be ageworthy.

A high acid variety that, in good years, can produce a ripe fruity wine. It accounts for about 6% of total plantings in Burgundy.

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