Burgundy’s Côte d’Or is a narrow strip of vineyard landscape stretching from the town of Dijon in the north past Beaune in the south. The region includes the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune areas, home to world renown wines made from the charismatic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. The cultivation of vines and the production of excellent wine date back more than 2000 years. Throughout the centuries, winegrowers have sought to reveal and identify the potential of their Climat, a word which has very little to do with meteorology, but rather with the micro-climate and geological conditions of each parcel of the vineyard land, carefully nurtured, developed and named over time.
Header photo: Le Château de Pommard © Château de Pommard – Beaune Tourisme
Two Climats located a few metres apart may produce two entirely different wines, despite using the same grape variety, Pinot Noir for the reds and Chardonnay for whites. Today, around 1,247 individual yet interconnected Climats extend from Dijon to Santenay, along the 60 kilometres long Côte, a geological fault which appeared over 30 million years ago. This breach forced layers of clay and limestone up towards the surface, thus creating the unusual contours and a mosaic of diverse soils of the Côte ridge of Burgundy.
The concept of identity of geographical origin lies at the heart of Burgundy’s more than 2000 years of wine-making traditions.
The distinctive qualities of each Climat have been recognised and defined over many centuries of experience and expertise. Little by little, the wines were organised into a hierarchy, which was officially established through the implementation of the AOC system in 1936. The crafting of the Climats is a unique example of man’s historic creativity, producing a diversity which has left its indelible mark on the land.
The Climats of Burgundy constitute an exceptional and dynamic repository of ancestral expertise and traditions. As a unique and fragile environment, the Climats require constant care and attention.
World Heritage Cultural Landscape
The Climats of Burgundy were inscribed on the list of World Heritage sites in 2015.
The Climats are recognised as World Heritage for being an exceptional testimony to a living cultural tradition and a remarkable example of a historic wine-producing region whose authenticity has remained undisputed throughout the centuries, and which continues to thrive.
The Climats are particularly representative of human interaction with this environment, that of the Côte wine region of Burgundy, which developed under the sustained impetus of the cities of Dijon and Beaune. The heritage buildings of the cities of Dijon and Beaune are tangible examples of this cultural construction. Some of these buildings are genuine statements; they are surviving demonstrations of the powers and institutions which have ruled over the wine territory and intimately linked to wine production areas and to the lives of those invested in local viticulture.
Hospices de Beaune public wine auction
The Hospices de Beaune wine auction is the oldest and most celebrated charity wine sale in the world and attracts thousands of visitors from across the globe. This traditional annual auction, first held in 1859, takes place on the third Sunday of November. The Hospice de Beaune charitable institution possesses nearly 60 hectares of vines and has been selling its wines for over 150 years in aid of the charities it supports. The event became public in the late 19th century.
- For more see: Hospices de Beaune – a place of legend