The rivalry between the Bordelais and Burgundian winemakers runs deep, each proclaiming their wine to be superior. So how do the two regions compare? Bordeaux is situated near the south-west coast of France. Burgundy stretches along a narrow section on the east side. Burgundy is primarily known for the classic expression of Pinot Noir. With delicate red fruit aromas, it develops interesting complexities with age. Bordeaux is all about the blends – with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon making up the key components. The impactful black and red fruit aromas are complimented by oak and sweet spices.
How well do you know the heavyweights of the French winemaking world? Take our quiz on Burgundy and Bordeaux to test your knowledge about France’s two most famous wine regions.
1. Which region has the larger vineyard area?
Bordeaux, with a total vineyard area of over 120,000 hectares, is larger than Burgundy with a total vineyard area of over 28,000 hectares.
2. Which region has the larger river?
The Gironde that runs through the region of Bordeaux is actually the largest estuary in Europe formed by the merger of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers.
3. True or false: The classification system in Bordeaux is based on the quality of the vineyards?
The Classification of 1855 was ordered by Napoleon III as a way to rank the best estates of Bordeaux.
4. True or false: the classification system in Burgundy is based on the quality of the vineyards?
The system of Crus and classifications in Burgundy is based on the quality of the climate, or vineyard plot. The best plots are located mid-slope.
5. Which region has a larger number of appellations?
Burgundy has over 100 distinct AOCs whilst Bordeaux has only 67.
6. True or false: the majority of wine produced in Burgundy is red.
False. Whilst the red wines of Burgundy are justifiably famous and fetch some of the highest prices in the world, Burgundy’s production is approximately 60% white wine.
7. Which region produces sparkling wines?
Both Burgundy and Bordeaux produce sparkling wine in the traditional method that is known as cremant.
8. Which region produces wines affected by rot?
Famous for sweet white wines made from grapes affected by Botrytis Cinerea, or Noble Rot, the Sauternes and Barsac appellations are within the Bordeaux region.
9. What are the official grape varieties used in Bordeaux?
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec
While the Bordeaux blend is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot you can also easily find Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Historically this blend also included Malbec, a tradition that was interrupted by the Phylloxera crisis, but is now returning.
10. What are the official grape varieties used in Burgundy?
Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay and Aligote
Pinot Noir is the most common red grape grown in Burgundy but Gamay can also be found in the region, particularly in the Beaujolais region. Chardonnay is the most common white grape varietal but the rare Aligote produces equally stunning wines.
Created by Aliye Melton – “A Californian living in Bordeaux and working in the wine industry, I am a traveller, a wine lover and a foodie. Follow my adventures here and at Cuvee Appeal. Cheers and may your glass always be filled with something interesting!”