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The evaluation of vineyards or locations and classification into quality classes has in French Burgundy an ancient tradition, first classifications date back to the Middle Ages and come from the Cistercian monks, The scientist Jules Lavalle (1820-1880) published in 1855 the work "Histoire et Statistique de Vigne de Grands Vins de la Côte-d'Or", which largely on the published by Denis Morelot in 1831 work "Statistics of La Vigne Dans Le Department de La Cote-D'Or ". Lavalle's book is also known as the "Answer of Burgundy" to the same year Bordeaux Classification considered.

In this comprehensive story about the Burgundian vineyards, 29 grape varieties are described in terms of their suitability. On the basis of his own book Lavalle then completed in 1861 a first systematic classification, which was presented a year later at the World's Fair in London. The vineyards and wines were in the four quality classes Tête de cuvée or Hors ligne, Première cuvée, Deuxième cuvée and Troisième cuvée. The system was later modified in a slightly modified form by the agricultural authority Beaune recognized and introduced in 1936 in the introduction of the AOC classification system of the INAO largely pictured.

The system is confusing to ordinary wine consumers in Burgundy, but more so outside of France. Unlike the different systems in the Bordeaux however, it is valid for the entire region. It takes on the different in Burgundy typical difference of the terroirs Consideration, where often juxtaposed smallest parcels great difference in terms of climatic Conditions or the prevailing microclimate, the physical and chemical nature of the soil type, of the hillside and thus exposition (Solar radiation) and thus also the wine qualities. In this context, Burgundy is the term Climat (Situation) emerged.

quality classes

In the system every single vineyard (Cru, Climat) is at the Côte d'Or and in chablis (not in the Beaujolais and Mâconnais ) accurately recorded. This often resulted in the smallest vineyards. An extreme example is Nuits-Saint-Georges where there are 40 Premiers Crus on 152 hectares of vineyards. The classification into quality grades is based on the criteria of approved grape varieties, traditional prescribed viticulture techniques, minimum and maximum alcohol content, maximum yield limits and typical...

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