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.
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 stylistics. The system is structured in ascending order into the following four quality levels, each with further fine gradations with a total of 84 often very small appellations:
The best locations in Burgundy are thus classified with the first two levels "Grand Cru" and "Premier Cru", which make up only 12% of the area. Almost without exception, these form a long band of vineyards that cover most of the slopes on the eastern edge of the Côte d'Or cover and face the sun in the morning. On the label must not appear on the Grands Crus the original municipality, but is for example only with "Montrachet" or "Bâtard-Montrachet" specified. The Premiers Crus, however, includes Source Parish and Cru Class, for example "Chassagne-Montrachet - 1er Cru Morgeot". All Grands Crus are classified as their own appellation. The quality system in the area Beaujolais is also based on the Burgundian model, but instead of four there are only three levels (no Grands Crus). The four quality levels:
The decision-making process, which can be assigned to the many layers of this highest class, was completed in 1984. This was done by monitoring the wine quality for many years. The yield is limited to a maximum of 35 hl / ha, as a rule, the wines are storable for at least five to seven years. Except in Chablis, these locations do not bear the name of the respective community. In the 19th century, however, many municipalities added the place name to the name of the Grand Cru location. So z. Aloxe to Aloxe-Corton, Chambolle to Chambolle-Musigny, Chassagne to Chassagne-Montrachet, Gevrey to Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne to Vosne-Romanée.
This can be confusing, because the famous Grand Cru location "Montrachet" (which share the communities "Chassagne Montrachet" and "Puligniy-Montrachet" in terms of area and in which no municipality name is given) must not with one of the many Premier Cru Layers from the Montrachet communities be confused.
The 40 top locations from Cote d'Or (33) and Chablis (7) are their own appellations. Most of them share several owners Clos de Vougeot These are for example 85 winegrowers. Especially the famous Hospices de Beaune has been in possession of many Grand Cru and Premier Cru locations through gifts and legacies over the last 500 years. The Grand Cru communities followed by Grands Crus:
Aloxe-Corton (Côte de Beaune): Charlemagne, Corton, Corton-Charlemagne
chablis The seven top locations are Blanchot, Bougros, Grenouilles, Les Clos, Les Preuses, Valmur and Vaudésir. An exception is Moutonne, which is not a Grand Cru location. The name may therefore be given on the label, because parts of it are in Grand Cru locations.
Chambolle-Musigny (Côte de Nuits): Bonnes Mares. Musigny
Flagey-Echezeaux (Côte de Nuits): Echézeaux, Grands Echézeaux
Gevrey-Chambertin (Côte de Nuits): Chambertin, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze (also Clos de Bèze), Chapelle-Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Griotte-Chambertin, Latricières-Chambertin, Mazis-Chambertin, Mazoyères-Chambertin, Ruchottes-Chambertin
Ladoix-Serrigny (Côte de Beaune): Corton, Corton-Charlemagne
Montrachet = Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet (Côte de Beaune): Bâtard-Montrachet, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet, Montrachet
Morey-Saint-Denis (Côte de Nuits): Bonnes Mares. Clos de la Roche. Clos de Tart. Clos of the Lambray. Clos Saint-Denis
Pernand-Vergelesses (Côte de Beaune): Corton, Corton-Charlemagne
Vosne-Romanée (Côte de Nuits): La Grande Rue, La Romanée. La Tche. Romanée-Conti. Richebourg. Romanée-Saint-Vivant
Vougeot (Côte de Nuits): Clos de Vougeot
In the Grand Cru locations of Côte de Nuits The classification is almost exclusively for red wines (exception is Musigny with some white wine), in the Grand Cru locations of Côte de Beaune almost exclusively for white wine (exception is Corton with almost only red wine).
The second quality level are so-called "first layers". The yield is limited to a maximum of 45 hl / ha. Even with this classification made it not easy, for example, were at the location Les Petits Epenots in the community Pommard Plots 2 to 8 and 13 to 19 are classified as Premier Cru, but the rest are not. Some Premier Cru locations are quite Grand Cru quality or even above. On the label seems (in contrast to the Grands Crus) a combination between community and location names. If the wine comes from several Premier Cru locations, the place name only follows the text "Premier Cru".
The yield is limited to a maximum of 50 hl / ha. It is called "Villages" (villages) or for privileged also the community. The communities are Aloxe-Corton. Auxey-Duresses. Beaune. Blagny. Bouzeron. Chambolle-Musigny. Chassagne-Montrachet. Chorey-les-Beaune. Fixin. Flagey-Echezeaux. Gevrey-Chambertin. Givry. ladoix. Maranges. Marsannay. Mercurey. Meursault. Montagny. Monthélie. Morey-Saint-Denis. Nuits-Saint-Georges. Pernand-Vergelesses. Pommard. Pouilly-Fuissé. Puligny-Montrachet. Rully. Saint-Aubin. Saint-Romain. Saint-Véran. Santenay. Savigny-lès-Beaune. Viré-Clessé. Volnay. Vosne-Romanée. Vougeot,
If there are Grand Cru locations in these communities, as mentioned above, they will be used without a community name; the situation speaks for itself so to speak. Locations are permitted if they are listed in a smaller font size than that of the municipality.
The Burgundian Climats were in 2015 to World Heritage collected by UNESCO. This in Germany introduced in 2012 VDP classification model of VDP (Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) is based on the four-stage Burgundian model. See a listing of the different classification systems below Grand Cru, The EU-wide classification system is under the keyword quality system described.