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If you love Chardonnay, you’ve probably seen a bottle or two of white Burgundy in your life. Burgundy is considered the birthplace of the concept of terroir and is home to some of the best (and most expensive) Chardonnays on the market. Not only is Burgundy home to some of the best vineyards in the world, it is also home to some pretty serious winemakers. If you’re looking for a bottle of Chardonnay to break all preconceived notions about the grape, you’ve come to the right place.
What is Pinot Blanc?
Wines known as white Burgundy are Chardonnay-based wines from the eastern Burgundy region of France.
How is Pinot Blanc classified?
Like all wines in France, the white Burgundy wines are also subject to the AOC system (appellation d’origine contrôlée), ie the bottles are classified as AOCs, IGPs (Vin de Pays) or Vin de France.
Burgundy goes a step further, however, by dividing many wines into regional names, village names, premier cru names and the almighty grand cru names based on the vineyards from which they come. Burgundy white wines are also often labeled with specific clos (walled-in vineyards) or lieu-dit (parcels) labels that identify the exact vineyard from which the fruit comes.
In terms of region and appellations, Burgundy is divided into five main zones: Chablis, Côte Chalonnaise, Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits and Mâconnais. Chablis white burgundy is often referred to simply as Chablis. Red wine rules the Côte de Nuits, and although some red wines are made on the Côte de Beaune, this area is known for its prestigious white Burgundy wines. The Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais offer some of the region’s most affordable white Burgundy options.
How is Pinot Blanc made?
White Burgundy is made in a variety of styles that are heavily influenced by the exact vineyard parcel the fruit comes from, as well as the winemaking decisions of the particular winemaker. Most white Burgundies generally experience some form of oak aging, although the percentages of new versus old oak are very manufacturer specific.
Higher percentages of new oak generally give the wine aromas of vanilla or warm baking spices, while white burgundy, which has matured in neutral oak, shows more restrained notes of these aromas.
How does white burgundy taste?
White Burgundy is dry vinified and is known for its flavors of green and yellow apple, lemon, cream, grilled notes, toast, butter, vanilla and more. When vinified with special techniques, white Burgundies can also have pleasant reduction notes, which reveal themselves in the form of matchstick and flint aromas. White Burgundies from top producers are some of the best expressions of Chardonnay to store in the cellar, as their balance and structure make them ideal for long-term maturation.
Which dishes go well with Pinot Blanc?
The balanced weight, the fruitiness and the lively acidity of the White Burgundy make it ideal for serving with a variety of equally rich dishes. Serve a bottle slightly chilled with hearty fish dishes (fried scallops, butter lobster, etc.), creamy pasta sauces or fried poultry, or simply put a bag of popcorn in the microwave and enjoy the snack. You really can’t go wrong with these wines.
These are five bottles to try.
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