Dry red burgundy wines are made from Pinot noir grapes, and other reds from Gamay.
White burgundy wines are made from Chardonnay grapes and Aligoté. Small amounts of rosé and sparkling wines are also produced.
South of Chablis in the Côte d’Or is where Burgundy’s most famous and expensive wines originate, and where all the Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy (except for Chablis Grand Cru) are found. The Côte d’Or itself is split into two parts: the Côte de Nuits which begins just south of Dijon and stops at Corgoloin, a few miles south of of Nuits-Saint-Georges, and the Côte de Beaune which starts at Ladoix and ends at Dezize-les-Maranges. The wine-growing part of this region in the heart of Burgundy is just 25 miles long, and in most places less than 1.2 miles wide. The area is made up of many tiny villages surrounded by a combination of flat and sloped vineyards on the eastern side of a hilly region, providing some rain and weather shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. The best wines – from Grand Cru vineyards – are usually grown from the middle and higher part of the slopes, where the vineyards have the most exposure to sunshine, while the Premier Crus come from slightly less favourably exposed slopes. The relatively ordinary ‘Village’ wines are produced from the flat ground nearer the villages. The Côte de Nuits contains 24 out of the 25 red Grand Cru appellations in Burgundy, while all of Burgundy’s white Grand Cru wines are in the Côte de Beaune.
Further south is the Côte Chalonnaise, where a mix of mostly white and red wines are produced, although the appellations found here such as Mercurey, Rully and Givry are less well-known than their counterparts in the Côte d’Or.
South of the Côte Chalonnaise is the Mâconnais region, known for producing large quantities of easy-drinking, more affordable mainly white wine. Further south again is Beaujolais, famous for fruity red wines made from the Gamay variety.