Bordeaux and Burgundy: both French, both delicious, both wonderful, both so different.
Bordeaux is preppy, designer-polo-shirt wearing, algebra understanding, velvety smooth bilingual who adroitly conceals contempt for English speakers while brazenly over-charging them for wine, or “claret” if you are loathsome Limey from across the channel.
Burgundy is ninth-generation dirt-under-fingernails grape farmer clinging to two rows of inherited vines on the Côte-d’Or, who will not halt his dog from peeing on your shoes. Being French, he does not conceal contempt for English speakers, or for French-speaking Bordeaux winemakers, or for anyone else who does not live in walking distance of his commune, and he doesn’t suffer all his neighbors either.
Both regions create wines that are envy of the world. Call them Dallas Cowboys-New York Yankees of viniculture.
Bottles tell the story. Bordeaux bottles have high, right-angle shoulders, resembling liveried servants awaiting commands. Burgundy bottles have sloping, cool-dude shoulders; if you are a swell in a hurry, you came to the wrong place, and if my dog wants to pee on you, I’m encouraging him.
Bordeaux is located on France’s west coast, split by Garonne Estuary; left bank features cab-merlot blends, right bank merlot-cab blends. It is big appellation—some 300,000 acres.
Burgundy is 74,000 acres in northeast France and features two varieties—famously finicky pinot noir and chardonnay. Burgundy is pinot noir from Burgundy, a red wine with protean noses and gorgeous fruit expressions. White Burgundy is chardonnay from Burgundy, typically displaying complex fruit flavors and little or no oak.
In Bordeaux, blend elegance is the Grail. In Burgundy, it is terroir—soil and climate where grapes are grown—and wines often include earthy, “barnyard” elements.
Because Burgundian families tenaciously cling to their acres, there are wine growers who only own a row or two in a vineyard. That is why Burgundy wines often are made by negotiants, makers who purchase from grape farmers and produce the wine.
Bordeaux, on the other hand, is dominated by châteaux and families who have claimed land since Caesar thought Gaul was divided into three parts. We uncouth plebeians get to enjoy both.
Last round: Why limit “happy” to just an hour?
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