Two French regions are unleashing passions in the world of great wines on a global scale. These are Bordeaux and Burgundy. Both produce mythical and prestigious wines. Is one better than the other? To get the answer, we have to look a little closer at what differentiates them.
The Different Grape Varieties of Bordeaux and Burgundy
Bordeaux red wines are mainly made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, as well as Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. White Bordeaux wines are generally blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. As for the red wines of Burgundy, they are produced from Pinot Noir. In the Beaujolais region, which is technically considered part of Burgundy, the red wines are produced from Gamay. On the other hand, Burgundy white wines like Montrachet wine are produced from Chardonnay.
The Differences in Climate between Bordeaux and Burgundy
Burgundy has a temperate and cool climate. Hail and too much rain are the biggest concerns for winegrowers. Although cold temperatures can also be a concern in some years, grapes grown in Burgundy are particularly accustomed to and adapted to cooler climates. As it is the case with cool climates in general, wine produced in Burgundy tends to be lower in alcohol, more acidic and has a lighter body. Click here to learn more about the specificities of Burgundy wines, especially Montrachet.
The Bordeaux region has a relatively warm climate. It is known for its mild winters, its hot but not excessive summers, and its heavy rainfall in the spring. As a result, Bordeaux wines tend to be less acidic, fuller, and richer in ripe fruit flavors.
The Differences in Wine Culture in Bordeaux and Burgundy
Bordeaux wines have a high yield. On average, Bordeaux produces four times more wines than Burgundy. This explains the diversity in terms of quality and price. Bordeaux blends are usually made from the three main grape varieties of the region, namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, although Malbec and even Carmenere are sometimes added. White Bordeaux wines are made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle.
Burgundy is grown on smaller plots and normally produces wine through small cooperatives. The smaller scale is also more targeted. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the main grape varieties used. The region fewer wines with less variation. Burgundy wine are very typical. In large part, this is why Burgundy wines are more expensive than Bordeaux wines most of the time.
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