ABC? Go for Burgundy!

By Colette Martin


Ever heard about ABC: Anything But Chardonnay? At Opimian, we don’t believe in excluding grape varieties, but we do recommend Burgundy whites… they will reconcile you with Chardonnay!


The white wines of Burgundy are considered to be the benchmark for Chardonnay producers globally. The unique terroir and traditional winemaking result in a product that is much revered, often emulated but never duplicated anywhere else in the world. In fact, Burgundy enthusiasts feel it is so unique that even the most ardent naysayers of Chardonnay can be swayed by a nice bottle of Chablis.


Chardonnay, while one of the most planted white grape varieties and found in almost every region where wine is produced, is still synonymous with Burgundy today. High-quality white Burgundy wines are thought to be made from Fromenteau, the ancestor of Pinot Gris. Chardonnay is a much later addition to Burgundy’s vineyards. Other white varietals that you will find include Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Aligoté. Aligoté grapes can be grown anywhere in Burgundy and are typically characterized by a light fruitiness of apple and lemon with a hint of floral notes and vibrant mouthfeel.


Aligoté: These grapes can be grown anywhere in Burgundy and are typically characterized by a light fruitiness of apple and lemon with a hint of floral notes and vibrant mouthfeel. Check out lot 2423 in this Cellar from Lamblin.


Pinot Blanc, a white berry mutation of Pinot, is grown in Nuit St-Georges and has an almost sweet taste due to low acidity and mellow fruitiness of apple and pear.


Sauvignon Blanc: Grown in the northern AOC of Saint-Bris, which is the only region in Burgundy that grows this grape and has a similar terroir as the Loire Valley. It has aromas of citrus, peach and a tropical fruitiness with a floral finish and a hint of spice.


Pinot Gris: An ancestor to Fromenteau and mutated from Pinot Noir, this grape is known for its tropical fruit aromas, apple and stone fruit with a hint of smokiness.


Evidence shows that Burgundians have been making wine since the second century AD, perhaps even earlier by the Celts, before the Roman conquest. For centuries, monks and monasteries of the Roman Catholic Church owned vineyards and had an important influence on Burgundy wine. In fact, in the 12th century the Cistercians first noticed that different vineyard plots gave consistently different wines which laid the earliest foundation for the naming of Burgundy crus and the region’s terroir thinking and classification.


A cru in Burgundy designates a high-quality vineyard plot which may be owned by various wineries. These plots, also called “climats” are carefully delineated, have their own history and benefit from specific geological and climatic conditions.


Grand Cru – These are the elite of Burgundy wine. Most famous plots with the best conditions for quality wines. These plots are higher up on the hill with greater sun exposure and good drainage.


Premier Cru – Within certain communal appellations there are plots that have been established and classified as Premier Cru (first growth), based on the consistency of their quality. These may be further down a hillside with less sun exposure.


Village – Communal Appellation, located most often on the flat lands, the wine will carry the name of the village where it is produced.


Bourgogne – Regional Appellation – grapes come from anywhere within Burgundy.



Burgundy White Wines

Broadly speaking, there are four main white producing areas.


Bourgogne Blanc
Easy sipping whites, unoaked with notes of apple, lemon citrus and minerality. It is the basic wine appellation for the region which means the grapes can come from anywhere in Burgundy. Pairs well with white meat or a hot patio on a Sunday afternoon.


Located in the northernmost region and known for chalky soils. Typically Chablis wines are unoake=d with a green apple, lime/citrus flavour that is crisp and dry with great acidity. There is also a briny salinity to this wine which makes it a pairing made in heaven for oysters. Some of the Grand Cru producers will oak their wine to give it a richer mouthfeel.


Also typically unoaked with softer fruit flavours like melon, apple and tropical fruit, owing to its location at the southern end of Burgundy and a slightly warmer climate. These pair well with mildly complex dishes or cured meats.


Côte de Beaune
This would be the most complex of the white Burgundy wines with deep aromas and flavours of yellow apple, golden pear and even earthy flavours like truffles. The oak aging will yield well balanced spiciness and brioche aromas. This can be thoroughly enjoyed on their own or paired with rich fish or creamy risotto.


Crèmes de Fruits Cocktail Recipes


Crème de Fruit Case: Cassis, Mûre and Cerise (Web Exclusive), lot 2433


Champagne Doyard-Mahé DM Empreinte, Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs, Vertus Premier Cru, lot 2370


There are countless ways to use Lamblin’s crèmes de fruits. Here’s a video and recipes that might inspire you!




Kir Royal with crème de cassis

4/5 Crémant de Bourgogne (or Champagne for an even more luxurious drink!)

1/5 Crème de cassis

Both liquids should be at the same temperature (cold). Pour the sparkling wine over the crème and gently stir if necessary.


Crème de mûre cocktail

3cl crème de mûre

5cl rhum

1cl lemon juice

Sparkling water

Add crushed ice to a shaker. Pour in crème de mûre, rhum and lemon juice. Shake well and serve through a cocktail strainer. Fill up the glass with sparkling water and garnish with redcurrants.


Bramble cocktail with gin and crème de cerise 

4cl gin (try our new gins from The Old Curiosity Distillery for a flavoursome cocktail!)

2cl crème de cerise

2cl lemon juice

1cl cane sugar syrup

Add the gin, lemon and sugar syrup to a shaker. Shake well. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. trickle the crème de cerise  over the top. Garnish with fresh blackberries.