czwartek, 30 września 2010


BURGUNDY or BORDEAUX ? - that is the question.

In the magic world of wines, there are only two names which really counts.
These are: bordeaux and bourgognes.

Both of them come from France, however they are totally different one from the other.

Not so long ago, young wine enthousiasts and wine lovers all over the world, were practically weaned on bordeaux, just as would-be connoisseurs had been for generations. It was the gateway to all that is wonderful about wine. However, at
present, one may observe a drastic change of drinking customs. For many younger sommeliers and wine lovers, the new standard of excellence is burgundy, while bordeaux has become downright and unfashionable. They see it as an expensive
wine for wealthy collectors, investors and point-chasers, people who seek critically approved wines for the luxury and status they convey rather than for excitement in a glass.

“The perception of Bordeaux for my generation, is too much Rolex and too much Rolls-Royce.”
said Cory Cartwright, 30, an wine importer to US.

Unlike Bordeaux, where many of the best-known châteaux are run by corporations or wealthy absentee owners, Burgundy is full of estates, including many of the leading ones, that are essentially small businesses. Dealing with Bordeaux often requires working with middle management and marketing specialists. It’s much easier to visit a Burgundian estate and find there one person who has dirt on the boots, wine on the hands and a name on the bottle.


The high shouldered 'Bordeaux Bottle' is used by most wineries for cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and most bordeaux blends. The bordeaux bottle is also generally used for the white bordeaux: sauvignon blanc and semillon as well as their blends with muscadelle.

The slope shouldered 'Burgundy Bottle' is generally used for chardonnay and pinot noir around the world.


In general [ exception: clarets ], red bordeaux wines have a dark purple and almost opaque color, while the burgundy wines have a bright and clear ruby red color.

As far as the whites are concerned the color of bordeaux is more concentrated towards gold, while white burgundys are showing more light robe.


“Château” is more often used in Bordeaux, while “Domaine” in Bourgogne.


Many red bordeaux wines are rich, bodied, thick, and have a certain weight, they are fruity, tart, and show well pronounced roughness.

This originates with the grapes used.

There are 8 grape varieties allowed within AOC Bordeaux Appellation:

Red bordeaux:
- cabernet sauvignon: gives bitter wines, good for long maturation, with typical herbaceous or green bell pepper flavor
- merlot: in the traditional Bordeaux blend. Merlot's role is to add body and softness .
- cabernet franc: is lighter than cabernet sauvignon, making a bright pale red wine and contributing finesse and a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes.
- petit verdot: it is added in small amounts to add tannin, colour and flavour to the blend.
- malbec: brings very deep color, ample tannin, and a particular plum-like flavor component to add complexity to Bordeaux blends.

For the great millesimes, their best maturation is after 15 - 20 years, and even longer. Traditionally regarded as the best investment wines.

White bordeaux:
- sauvignon blanc: in general gives wines crisp, elegant, and fresh with grassy flavors
- sémillon : is rather heavy, with low acidity and an almost oily texture. It has a high yield and wines based on it can age a long time.
- muscadelle: it has a simple aroma of grape juice and raisins


Red burgundys:
are 100% made with pinot noir (except the gamay).

This particular grape variety, is widely considered to produce some of the world's finest wines, but is quite difficult to cultivate and transform into wine. Burgundys are considered to be the most elegant wines. This is because of their finesse and light structure. The tremendously broad range of bouquets, flavors, textures and impressions that pinot noir can produce, is totally unique. Traditional red burgundy is famous for its fleshy, 'farmyard' aromas', but changing fashions and new easier-to-grow clones have favoured a lighter, fruitier style. Dominating fruits flavors, are these of cherry, raspberry or currant.

It is drank, usually after 5 years, except for the Grand Cru which will fully mature after 10 years and longer.

White burgundys:

are 100% made of chardonnay (except of aligoté).

Traditionally in Bourgogne, both fermenation, as well as maturation, are processed in the barrels. Wines are always round, flavors are highly concentrated ( white fruits, white flowers, marzipan, hazelnut). In addition to being the most expensive, the Burgundy examples of chardonnay were long considered the benchmark standard of expressing terroir through this specific variety.


Bourgognes are totally different, from bordeaux.

However, there is no doubt, that there is no, any other wine regions all over the world, offering such wide complexity and quality of produced wines.

Not to forget to mention, generations long winemaking traditions.


• J.Robinson, H. Johnson, Atlas Win Świata
• N.M.Servant, B.Planche, M.Dovaz, Le Monde Fascinant du Vin
• M. Marchaj, wine blog
• P.Leiritz, wine blog
• C.Cartwright, US wine importer
• NYT, May 10, 2010
• Wine tours with VINTRIPS

Copyright © by Adam Stankiewicz, VINTRIPS , 2010