This is the Holy Land of wine, whence, centuries ago, came the Celts, whose contacts with Italy led to the import of the grape long before the birth of Christ. The evidence for this - a tombstone depicting what appears to be a Celtic God with a vine clutched in his right hand - can be found in the village church of Corgoloin in the Côte de Nuits.
After the Celts came the Romans and by the time the Roman Empire disintegrated, commercial viticulture in Burgundy was well established. After a period of barbarian rule the Church took to wine through the benefaction of vineyards by pious laymen and by the middle of the 13th century the Benedictines owned all the vineyards around Gevrey in the Côte de Nuits, some 100km north of their abbey at Cluny.
Acquiring vineyards was a good business move on the part of the monks, for they had ready-made cellars and store rooms ideal for maturing wine. They also had that other precious commodity - time - in which to keep detailed records and to instigate the systematic changes necessary to improve quality. However, it took a while longer for Burgundy's wine to really take off - about 700 years to be more precise - for it wasn't until the second half of the 20th century that the world finally discovered its almost infinite diversity.
Burgundy is a relatively small wine region, and although it is still possible to find good value wines, it's a lot harder now than it was when we first started looking nearly 20 years ago. Fortunately it is also a region where the search is as much fun as the discovery. A compact area of rugged escarpments and gentle hills, small villages and quiet roads, there is enough warm hospitality and good food to sustain you while you admire the vineyards and sample the wines.
Burgundy's official appellations are divided into four broad categories, in ascending order of quality - and we have vineyards producing wines in three of them:
Regional 'Bourgogne' appellations are wines that can be produced from the region as a whole, such as our exclusive Bourgogne rouge from Domaine Michel-Andreotti.
Communal or 'village' appellations are for wines produced in a single village which then gives its name to those wines, such as our Givry from Domaine Ragot and our exclusive Nuits-St-Georges from Domaine Dubois.
Premier Cru appellations are for wines produced on a specific named and delimited parcel of land - a climat - within a given village. On the label the name of the climat is added to that of the village, as in our exclusive Mercurey Premier Cru En Sazenay from Domaine Pillot and our Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume from Domaine Séguinot-Bordet. The Premiers Crus of Burgundy are an area of particular interest and we have several vineyards, especially in the Côte Chalonnaise south of Beaune, producing excellent quality and value for money in this category.
Grand Cru appellations are for the unique products of the most highly reputed climats. With these the name of the climat replaces the name of the village on the label.