Vineyard of Chardonnay grapes near Mâcon, France.

Accessing Our Class: Finding Value in Burgundy

All You Need to Know to Access and Enjoy Our Next Live Class on November 12, 2023

4 min read

On November 12, 2023, I will be offering a live online class about finding value in the wines of Burgundy — or Bourgogne, as the region is known in France. The class is currently open only to paying subscribers of Opening a Bottle and there will be 3 first-come, first-served guest passes to exclusive to email subscribers. Join our newsletter list.

This will not be a comparison tasting class, but I encourage all guests to open a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Aligoté or Crémant from the region, as it will set the mood for the imagery and details that I will be sharing as I recap my summer trip and lend insights to the region’s more affordable wines.

Jump Ahead to Zoom Link

What Do We Mean By Affordable?

Of course, this is the $64,000 question (which, ironically, is what you might think a bottle of Grand Cru Romanée-Conti will be costing soon). So before you shop for a bottle of wine for this class, this is terrain we ought to cover here.

Because of their prestige, boundless history, and track-record of quality, the wines of Burgundy have been a hot commodity among collectors for decades. However, in the last 10 years, prices have sky-rocketed even further as a result of increased demand from China and other emerging markets, as well as climate change, which has reduced yields significantly. And its not just the Grand Cru wines feeling the klieg lights; Premier Cru and even Village wines have seen their prices soar as well.

Which brings us to a question that needs to be asked before we answer the first one: if these wines are mostly varietal Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, why not seek out wines from those grapes from any of the hundreds of other wine regions in the world that produce them too?

The answer is that Burgundian whites and reds still have a taste profile all their own, and it is not easily duplicated. Terroir and a deep bench of talent ensure that these wines are often less fruity, more lean on the palate, and wonderfully complex, intriguing and unique from one to the next.

That said, a standard Bourgogne rouge regional wine (at the low end of the quality spectrum) is probably going to taste like any Pinot Noir on account of its origin in the flat vineyards of the region. Same for Bourgogne Blanc. The trick is to know where to find terroir-centric wines with that savory, tertiary-forward Burgundian profile, and do it without maxing out your credit card.

And that’s where this class will focus: the sweet spot. That said, the answer to my initial rhetorical question — what do we mean by affordable? — is between $45-$95/bottle. Yikes. I know that’s a lot, especially for a “humble village wine,” but the thing about Burgundy is that wines within this range can often rival (or even knock the socks off) top-of-the-line wines in the same price range from Sonoma, Monterrey, Santa Barbara, Oregon, Alto Adige, Australia, Chile and New Zealand. It is by this thread that Burgundy still clings to relevance for people like you and me.

So in short, “affordable” is relative. These may be a special occasion wine for you, or they might be a once-a-year cellar addition, as a trio of Savigny-les-Beaune Premier Cru Serpentières were for me a month ago. (Dropping $207 on three wines is not something I do often, but I knew the producer from my trip, and was excited to add them to my collection for 10, maybe 12 years of aging at home). But that’s what passes for “affordable” in Burgundy these days, and if you love these wines but have felt frustrated by their increasing price, I hope you’ll join us on November 12.

Wines for the Class

If you are not familiar with the four classifications of Burgundy wine, which truly sets the pricing structure for these wines, check out this primer I created. As noted earlier (but with more specifics), I’d recommend any of the following wines to sip or compare on your own during the class:

Sparkling Wine

  • Crémant de BourgogneThe traditional-method sparkling wine from the region. While good, these wines are not what Burgundy excels at, and I think Crémant d’Alsace tends to be a bit better.

White Wines: Aligoté and Chardonnay

  • Bourgogne-Aligoté or BouzeronWith every year, the Aligoté wines of Burgundy get better and better, and they’re right in the sweet spot for this class. My recent profile on Domaine de Villaine will give you a sense for its potential.
  • Regional Chardonnay WinesRefer to my guide to Regional Wines of Burgundy for a better idea on where to look.
  • Village Chardonnay WinesRefer to my guide to Affordable Village Wines of Burgundy for a better idea on where to look. Specifically, I recommended Chablis, Pouilly-Fuissé, Saint-Romain and Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc, but also look for Viré-Classé and Saint-Véran.

Red Wines: Pinot Noir

  • Regional Pinot Noir WinesRefer to my guide to Regional Wines of Burgundy for a better idea on where to look.
  • Village Pinot Noir WinesRefer to my guide to Affordable Village Wines of Burgundy for a better idea on where to look. I recommended Pernand-Vergelesses Rouge, Savigny-les-Beaune, Côte de Nuits-Village, Marsannay and Givry. 

Zoom Credentials

Topic: Opening a Bottle Presents: Affordable Burgundy
Time: Nov 12, 2023 06:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 838 1004 2391
Passcode: Burgundy


Château de Rully and a clos vineyard, Burgundy, France.
Historic wines of Domaine Guillot-Broux
A bottle of Domaine Pierre Guillemot Savigny-les-Beaune Premier Cru Aux Serpentières

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