With 103 areas under protected designation, with 33 Grand Cru areas and 200 million bottles produced every year, Burgundy seems very small on planet wine. Nevertheless its nectars are amongst the most sought after wines… The wines produced on this 155 mile long vineyard have this “je ne sais quoi”. They are no mere farm products.
Men and women in Burgundy, will immediately tell you about this unique invention that they call "terroir". Nowadays a little overworked, this concept was invented in this region by the Cistercian monks. Since then it has become a philosophy, transmitted from generation to generation… with winegrowers that the whole world has envied us for a long time. Henri Jayer, Denis Mortet, Sylvain pitiot, Anne Claude Leflaive, Jean-Marie Raveneau…
This hard-to-explain concept of “terroir” made the wealth of this vineyard that the Benedictine (from the 6th century) and Cistercian monks (in 1098) classified. Thanks to them, the gallo-roman legacy was about to take a whole new dimension. This was the birth, ahead of its time, of what we now call the Grand Cru areas. Because the monks understood, well before others, the interest of a fine wine production, even if it meant producing less. Jacky Rigaux, trainer at the Jules Guyot Institute in Dijon, knows the whole history of these “winegrower monks” inventors of the “Burgundy climates”. “This term suits perfectly, as the faculty member stresses, as it enables to recognize the importance of what we now call climatology (temperature, rain fall, wind, airstream, mesoclimate and microclimate) so as to determine the vineyard plots.” This explains why one area can produce very different wines from one vineyard plot to the other.