Pinot Noir offers a very varied palette of aromas that are a direct consequence of the terroir on which it is grown.In Burgundy the wines are labeled in a way that distinguishes the place of production. There are four levels – regional, communal (or village), premier cru and grand cru. As you move up the ladder the regulations get stricter, the prices higher and, in most cases, the quality better.
The above graphic outlines total production of wines from each Classification Levels. Reading this % breakdown is the beginning to understanding the value ratio of Red Burgundy. In a simplified way it comes down to the basic principle of supply and demand. There is also an additional factor in play and is the largest determining factor in red Burgundy wines. The Beaune-Tourism website outlines things rather precisely stating:
“Each wine region in France has its own wine classification. In Burgundy, the concept of “terroir” (cultivated land) is very important since it’s the soil that gives its name to the wine (in Alsace, it’s the grape variety, in Bordeaux, the estate). The Burgundy wine-producing land parcel is also called"Climat"(climate). This is a plot of vines, carefully delineated and named for centuries, which has its own history and benefits from specific geological and climatic conditions.”
It is also important to take into account cultural shifts and marketing into the discussion of red burgundy. According to the Jancis Robinson website:
“Until the second half of the 20th century, most of Burgundy's vine-growers would sell their grapes to the region's powerful merchants, or négociants, who could then assemble reasonable quantities of wine under each appellation to be sold under their own name. The late-20th-century fashion for demonstrable authenticity changed all this, however. Demand for domaine-bottled burgundy carrying the stamp of one grower-winemaker-bottler means that the consumer has the choice of the following sorts of wine, all possibly made from the same small vineyard”
There are 5 major areas within Burgundy: Chablis, Côte d’Or, Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais, and Beaujolais.
For the discussion of Pinot we will focus on the Côte d’Or. The “golden slope” of Burgundy begins just south of the city of Dijon and occupies a narrow vertical corridor. The Côte d’Or is divided into two sectors: the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune. Burgundy’s top vineyards and most famous villages are located here.