The appellations are at the heart of the organization of the Bourgogne winegrowing region. The appellations are a simple reference point in the diversity of Bourgogne wines. With 84 appellations, the Bourgogne region offers diversity and its richness, the result of 2,000 years spent constructing the terroir.
The birth of the AOCs
The Bourgogne region’s AOC hierarchy was established between the two world wars. The system, which defines not only the plots but their rank, from the specific Climat to the appellation Village or Régionale, was decided in 1935 and applied in 1936 with the appearance of the first AOC decrees. The aim was not simply to ensure the origin of the wine for the consumer, which is fundamental in itself, but also to guarantee qualitative elaboration methods, particularly in terms of yields and cultivation practices such as plantation density and trelissing for example.
Definition of the AOC
The AOC is a sign of quality and guarantees the specific characteristics of the product, including its original terroir (the basis of the classification of the appellations), the production method, the history of the product and the producer’s expertise. Each AOC is subject to meticulous checks at each stage of production and marketing. A new AOC is only conferred after a long historical, geological and qualitative analysis. According to this analysis, the sector may decide to create a new AOC because it also corresponds to a human, social and commercial reality.
The Bourgogne AOCs today
It used to be said that Bourgogne had 100 AOCs: In fact, this covered the above 84 AOCs, to which were added the so-called Dénominations Géographiques Complémentaires (DGC) of the Bourgogne AOC. Bourgogne AOCs can be divided into: 7 appellations Régionales (e.g. Bourgogne Pinot Noir), 44 appellations Village (e.g. Aloxe-Corton) - including 640 Climats ranked as Premier Cru (e.g. Saint-Aubin Premier Cru Les Frionnes), 33 appellations Grand Cru (e.g. Bonnes-Mares in Chambolle-Musigny) Here are a few AOCs allocated after the initial selection in 1936: 1961: Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits, 1971: Crémant de Bourgogne, 1998: Bouzeron (from the Aligoté grape), 1999 : Viré-Clessé, 2003: Saint-Bris (from the Sauvignon grape), 2017: creation of the «Bourgogne Côte d’Or» AOCs, October 30, 2017 : Bourgogne Vézelay AOCs becomes Vézelay The Bourgogne winegrowing region covers 29,395 hectares under vine which is just 4% of the total area under vine in France. 59% are white wines , 11% are Crémant de Bourgogne , 30% are red or rosé.
Photo Credit: Maison Joseph Drouhin, BIVB