Specialist Cellars talk New World Burgundy Wine…
Well well well. Looks as though we have stumbled upon another blog that may or may not cause an argument between households. Chardonnay or Pinot Noir? White Burgundy wine or Red Burgundy wine? We’ve done the research (and tasted the wines), so have a scroll to read our thoughts. We promise it’s worth it x
What’s the history of Burgundy?
Burgundy – located in Central-Eastern France – is arguably one of the most well-known wine regions in the world. Featuring infamous vineyard names such as Romanée-Conti and Puligny-Montrachet the region produces iconic red and white wines. But what does this actually mean? It’s rather simple actually, it comes down to the grape varieties used to produce the wines. Red Burgundy is made with 100% Pinot Noir and White Burgundy with 100% Chardonnay. These grapes have long been synonymous with the region and its numerous vineyards as the grapes were first established for winemaking in Burgundy.
Might be of interest – Burgundy | historical region and former région, France
Talk to me about White Burgundy Wine…
The wines produced from these grapes possess their own distinctive characteristics. Chardonnay is an exceedingly versatile grape but maintains clear citrus notes; the warmer the vineyard, the more citrus notes in the wines. In hot climates, the grape produces wines with rich tropical notes (think papaya and pineapple), whereas cooler climates tend to produce flavours of tree and stone fruits like apple, plum and pear. It is not only the climate that affects the flavour profile of Chardonnay, but the ageing and vinification of the wine has a direct impact on the palate. Rich and buttery styles come from the vintage French Oak casks, newer Oak barrels produce a more vanilla mouth, and stainless steel vats provide the wine with a stony minerality. Chardonnay truly is the all-rounder of grapes, there’s a chard out there for everyone whether you prefer oaked or unoaked, tropical or garden, the choice is yours.
What about Red Burgundy Wine?
When it comes to Pinot Noir the flavour profiles are vastly different. Pinot Noir still utilises acidity to its advantage, with earth notes and dark fruits – such as cherry, red currant and bramble – expected. When aged in French Oak, Pinot Noir gains notes of vanilla and spice. In cooler climates, the wine possesses a lighter body whereas warmer climates tend to give the wine a fuller body and a riper flavour profile.
What if I don’t like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay?
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are also used to make Rosé and Sparkling wines, as seen through our bottles of Akarua Brut and Nautilus Cuvée. A combination between the two Burgundian grapes are commonly blended together to produce sparkling wines around the world. The best Cuvées are typically made in the traditional methodé champenoise style, and may be produced as vintage or non-vintage wines.
The New World and Burgundy Wine…
Despite the region’s claim to these two popular grape varieties, the New World is stepping up its game and producing wines that not only match the standard of Burgundy, but in some cases exceed it. The 2019 documentary on New Zealand wine, ‘A Seat at the Table’ showed the wines of Kumeu River pitted against iconic White Burgundies, and yet Kumeu came first in every flight. Auckland Chardonnay is some of the best that New Zealand has to offer, this is not an imitation of White Burgundy but its own distinctive style of wine that remains unique to the region.
Moving on to Pinot Noir, we immediately think of Central Otago, the New Zealand region that was the first in the world to challenge the likes of Red Burgundy for the Pinot Noir crown. Felton Road vineyard is a pioneer of the region and its Pinot Noir varieties are legend within the wine world. Here at Specialist Cellars they simply fly out the door they’re that popular.
There you have it, a simple guide to White vs Red Burgundy and its New Zealand counterparts. What do you prefer, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir?