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If Bordeaux is the King of Wine Regions, then Burgundy surely must be his Queen. Stately and elegant, with mystique and complexity that is distinctly feminine, these northeastern French appellations are famed for some of the greatest reds and whites in the world.
Although there is a growing awareness for the light, fresh Aligote (the other white Burgundy and the traditional base for the kir cocktail), the reigning white of the Burgundy region is Chardonnay. As you move south to north from the soft, ripe Maconnais through the sophisticated, intricate whites from the Cote de Beaune to the crisp, mineral-driven Chablis, every production style is evident. Many of these whites are long-lived and age-worthy, deepening in complexity for up to ten years or more. Major regions include: Pouilly-Fuisse, Saint-Véran, Meursault, Chassagne Montrachet, Puligny Montrachet and, of course, Corton Charlemagne.
Lobster is the classic match for white Burgundy, but other seafood items such as Dover sole and scallops are also popular pairings. In addition, roasted chicken, pasta in cream sauce and cheeses such as Brie, Chaumes or Saint-Nectaire work especially well with these wines.
With very few exceptions, red Burgundy is made from 100% Pinot Noir. The village Bourgognes are lighter and leaner than their California counterparts, but with bright red fruit notes. The higher-end crus tend to be richly flavored with earthy mushroom notes and are capable of aging gracefully for decades. Major regions include: Santenay, Pommard, Nuits-St-George and Gevrey-Chambertin.
The traditional pairing for red Burgundy is duck, but anything with mushrooms pairs incredibly well with these wines. Red Burgundies can also be served with lamb, salmon and cheeses such as Brie or Camembert.