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The term Burgundy is often used as a marketable name for common red wines produced and sold by California wineries. Prior to 2006 this was a perfectly acceptable way of labeling some California wines. However, beginning in 2006, labeling laws changed to only allow wines of Burgundy, France to be labeled as Burgundy. Any wines of the US that were using the term "Burgundy" as of March 10, 2006 are still approved to use the term but no new such labels will be approved. (Wine/Classification & Attributes)
Burgundy is a complex region due to human as well as purely geographical factors. The elusive nature of the pursuit of perfection with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on Burgundy's "golden" slopes may well make the rewards of success so much sweeter for the many collectors in the U.S. who pay large sums for wines of miniscule production.

The market for Burgundy is currently at an all-time high with prices having been pushed up by increased global demand for the top wines. However, the increase in prices has not been uniform. Many negociants, who have to purchase fruit at very inflated prices demanded by the growers, will have to raise prices more than the estate producers do. The position for the negociants is thus worse than the for the top domaines. The latter will probably sell their wine with little effort, whereas the former may well encounter problems with passing on inflated prices. The only thing that may help to offset the significant extra cost of Burgundy to the consumer will be a weakening Euro and a strengthening Dollar and the decision by some large concerns to sell at a loss.

There are an increasing number of younger quality minded producers in Burgundy these days but it is still too easy for mediocre Burgundy producers to sell their production from glamorous appellations at high prices not warranted by the quality of the wine. To avoid becoming the unwitting recipient of expensive, pale, and flavor-challenged wine from a producer pumping out (by fair means or foul) more wine than conscience or law should permit, it is very important to have a strong grasp of which producers are quality minded and which are not. If this sounds like a lot of hard work and commitment: welcome to the world of a Burgundy collector!

Pinot Noir is the key red wine grape of Burgundy that is most intensively planted in the Côte de Nuits, comprising the northern half of the Côte d'Or. It is a tricky grape to ripen properly, not least in Burgundy. In the right hands and in the right vineyards it can produce sumptuous wines that uplift the soul. Conversely, in the wrong hands and in less favorable vineyards it will produce wine that is a shadow of its potential.

Chardonnay is the white wine grape of Burgundy. It is exclusively planted in Chablis and takes over from Pinot Noir immediately south of Beaune, on the Côte de Beaune section of the southern Côte d'Or. It can produce anything from hedonistically rich wines (in Chassagne-Montrachet), minerally, lean wines (in Chablis) to unchallenging simple everyday wines (in the Mâconnais) depending on the specific vineyard and how it is handled in the winery. Compared to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay is a more malleable grape in the winery. It is also easier to grow and more commercially rewarding for the grower.

Miniscule amounts of Gamay are planted in some parts of the Cote d'Or where it produces a refreshing wine for local consumption called Bourgogne-Passetoutsgrains, a more rustic version of Beaujolais. The white varieties Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris are also planted in insignificant quantities. Both may be used to blend with Chardonnay. (Wine/Appellations)