Beaune is the heart, soul and capital of Burgundy. A walled, medieval city of ancient buildings and cobble-stoned streets, Beaune is home to the annual Hospices de Beaune wine auction, a charity auction dating to the 15th century. Beaune has always been a natural crossroads, and it was a commercial center as far back as the Roman era. Today Beaune is home to many of Burgundy’s most famous negociants, including Drouhin, Jadot, Latour and Bouchard Pere et Fils. The Beaune appellation includes 1,620 acres of vineyards, of which 95% are planted to Pinot Noir, with the remainder to Chardonnay. Although there are no Grands Crus, there are 44 Premier Cru vineyards which account for nearly half the appellation’s vineyard acreage. The best vineyards are on the upper slopes around the town, and Beaune is especially known for its “clos,” or small, walled vineyards that are often parcels of larger vineyards. There are also Beaune village wines. Robert M. Parker Jr. wrote that the primary traits of Beaune reds in the best vintages are “an intense bouquet of berry fruit, principally black cherries and strawberries. The wines are rarely massive or large scaled, relying more on their smooth, silky, berry fruitiness and harmony to seduce…”
This white variety originated in Burgundy, but is now grown around the world. Its flexibility to thrive in many regions translates to wide flavor profile in the market. Chardonnay is commonly used in making Champagne and sparkling wines.