What is an appellation?
An appellation defines and protects geographically-named wines and is also the means to limit and control the types of grapes grown within an area as defined by the government or a governing authority.
How many regional appellations are there in Burgundy?
There are 23 regional appellations which themselves can be divided into 3 sub-categories.
Coteaux bourguignons -ex Bourgogne grand ordinaire
Crémant de Bourgogne
The next are called “sub-regional”
Cote de Nuits villages
Côte de Beaune villages
Then AOC burgundy geographic denominations
Bourgogne Côte Châlonnaise
Bourgogne Côte d’Auxerre
Bourgogne Côte du Couchois
Bôurgogne Cote saint Jacques
Bôurgogne Coulange la Vineuse
Bourgogne hautes Cotes de Beaune
Bourgogne hautes Cotes de Nuits
Bourgogne le Chapitre
Bourgogne la Chapelle Notre Dame
What is their position in Burgundy’s wine region classification?
Regional appellations account for 51% of Burgundy’s total production, that’s nearly 100 million bottles! They are found at the base of the AOC classification and their price range is from 8€ to 15€
This is what most Burgundians drink on an average basis. It would be ridiculous to think that Burgundians drink Premier or Grand Cru every day!
How can you gage the quality when buying regional wines?
As for all Burgundy wines, regardless of their classification, the estate name is a gage of quality and this is quite often reflected in the price. At the lower end of the Regional scale, where the price of the bottle is around 8 euros, it would tend to be a lesser known estate (in the Cotes de Nuits and Cotes de Beaune districts). As soon as you start seeing some more famous estates, the prices rises. However, since the winemaker’s reputation is at stake whatever the level of classification, the quality will be very high.
If you buy in the Maconnais or Côte Chalonnaise, you will get some very good quality regional wines for around 10 euros. In Macon, some excellent Chardonnay can be found for 7 to 8 euros!!! Look for Macon Azé or Pouilly Loché or Pouilly Vinzelles for example.