Burgundy holds the terroir concept (a group of vineyards or vines that share similar soil and climate) more dearly than any other area in France. This area is in east central France, and holds 1.6 million inhabitants that endure cold Continental winters, but enjoy warm summers.

This region covers 31,500 square kilometers (over 12,000 square miles), and is rich in world and winemaking history. Within this 360 km (225 mi) strip stretching 100 km (60 mi) south of Paris, from south of Dijon to north of Rhoone, are 99 different wine appellations.

Over 180 million bottles of some of the world's finest wines are made including anything from the full-bodied reds Pommard and Corton to the medium Beaune, and also world class whites, the dry Chablis or Chassagne Montrachet.

The area was fragmented into a system of small plots that are still used today during the French Revolution when monasteries'' vineyards were confiscated.

'Premier Cru', which designates the finest quality of wine has been obtained by 600 of the vineyards in this area. 33 vineyards can boast the more exclusive 'Grand Cru' label, among them the supreme Montrachet, Chambertin, and Clos Vougeot.

Burgundy reds made from the pinot noir grape goes well with Boeuf Bourguignon or pheasant, while a Chablis or other white is perfect with everything from shrimp to goat cheese.

Derived from the famous village of the same name, the Chablis, makes a brisk dry, white with refreshing acidity. The Chardonnay grapes in this area grow in limestone rich with fossil remains.

Lamb or grilled chicken can be accompanied by the world famous Beaujolais, with its fruity flavor from the Gamay grape grown in granitic limestone.

In Volnay, the delicious eponymous red has been made for eight centuries. Pinot Noir are grown on a sliver of less than 600 acres and produce 1.3 million bottles of this elegant wine with its aroma of raspberry and violets.

For those that love the finest whites, Meursault has the Premier Cru label. Chardonnay, grown on over 1,000 acres of limestone and marl, produces 2.5 million bottles of dry white that can be aged from 3 to 15 years. It holds the aroma of almond and apples and pairs well with fish in white sauce.

The red Pommard celebrates a tannic, robust flavor and is making a comeback after some decades of decline. In this area 1.8 million bottles with aromas of black cherry and black currant are produced from only 780 acres of Pinot Noir grown in limestone and red clay. This wine will age from 5 to 15 years and pairs well with game venison or roast red meat, with a side of Livarot cheese.

No matter what is preferred, a Burgundy is always a wonderful choice.

Swirl the wine gently, sniff and taste.

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