Ah Burgundy … This historic region where more than one king has been crowned, more than one mustard has been tasted and above all more than one wine has been created. Yes, in this wonderful region of the Grand-Est of France, wine is glorified and grape varieties are kings. Historical winemaking techniques have lost none of their flavor and still persist today. Let's see how biodynamics works in Burgundy vineyards . Let's go !
Burgundy, a wine region full of history
Biodynamics is close to a philosophy of life that is an integral part of the history of wine. History is a term that relates well to the Burgundy vineyard , a territory cultivated since the dawn of time. Let's retrace together the path of the Burgundy vineyard and what led it to biodynamics.
History of the Burgundy vineyard
The Burgundy vineyard is one of the oldest in France. Traces of amphorae (dating from the 2nd century BC) were found during an archaeological dig in Bibracte , a town in the Burgundy region where there is a Gallic archaeological site filled with history. Don't hesitate to drop by along the Burgundy wine route , the landscape is worth the detour!
It was during the 1st century AD that the Burgundy vineyard really saw the light of day. Hectares of vines are planted as far as the eye can see and the landscape is taking shape little by little.
The Burgundian know-how develops and in the 4th century, its fame goes beyond the borders and attracts the greed of our neighbors the Romans. A text dating from the year 312 already stipulates the existence of the terroir of Burgundy . When we tell you that wine and Burgundy are a long-standing love, we are not lying to you! ;)
In the Middle Ages, the Church took a lot of power, abbeys and monasteries grew on the Burgundy hillsides and the monks quickly took over the reins of the region's wine-growing activity. The Cistercian and Cluniac monks , supported by the Dukes of Burgundy , increased the activity and codified it by establishing the famous Burgundian “ clos ” and “climats ” .
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The king grape varieties of Burgundy wine
Clovis 1er or King Dagobert , names that probably speak to you. Their common point is that they were crowned kings in the city of Reims in Burgundy . If you are a Burgundy wine lover , Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are names that also speak to you. They are associated with grape varieties that are considered the kings of Burgundy . Of course, they wear neither crown nor cape, but by representing more than 80% of the grape production of the Burgundy vineyard , this white grape variety and this black grape variety surpass the competition.
(Source, Gates of Time)
Gamay and Aligoté , although less present, still find their place in the good wines of Burgundy. Burgundy Aligoté , does that ring a bell?
The Gamay would also hold its roots from the Côtes de Beaune , but the Duke of Burgundy , Philippe le Hardi, chased it from his land so that it did not compete with his good Pinot noir . It is with joy that the granitic soils of Mâcon and Lyon have welcomed this red grape variety to produce good vintages of Beaujolais wines .
Wine estates and appellations
Burgundy has reviewed the classic codes of a three-seater podium and proposes a classification of its appellations into four categories:
Throughout the vineyard, there are up to 84 AOCs (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) . To taste them all, you have to get up early, but it's worth it. Between the diversity of climates (more than 600), the authenticity of each of the vintages and the unique know-how of the wine producers , each tasting is unique . A red wine , a white wine and even a rosé wine , in this multi-talented region, there is wine for everyone and all occasions. You can count on the famous Crémant de Bourgogne to celebrate good news!
Biodynamics, its benefits for the land and the wine
Many wineries are biodynamic in Burgundy , and by looking at these benefits, we understand why. The Domaine de la Romanée Conti , which sold the most expensive bottle of wine in the world, has also converted to biodynamics. So, does that inspire you?
Biodynamic viticulture, how does it work?
Very close to organic viticulture , biodynamic viticulture emphasizes nature and also the influence of the stars and the moon on the vines. Biodynamics is a real philosophy, the winemaker is one with his estate, he monitors and maintains it, like a living being in its own right. The air and the earth represent the energy of the vine, and to maintain a good harmony, the winemaker maintains the vineyard with natural products .
Among the different solutions for fertilizing and protecting the soil , winegrowers have the choice between eggshells , horn dung , basalt powder or even herbal teas . One thing is certain, no chemical phytosanitary products that attack the soil and destroy the environment.
Working hand in hand with nature , the biodynamic winemakers let the sheep roam the fields to mow the lawn, the companion trees protect the living and the bees pollinate the neighboring fields .
The vinification of a biodynamic wine
Stopping on such a good path is not an option for biodynamic winegrowers . The Biodyvin and Demeter labels monitor both viticulture and winemaking to ensure that the biodynamic wines you taste are healthy from head to toe.
The winemaker uses only indigenous inputs, ie naturally present on the vine and the soil. Sulphite levels are also controlled and are between those of organic wine and natural wine. At Oé, our wines have sulfur levels that are close to the levels of biodynamic wines to respect both the wine and also your head. Yes, with lower sulfur levels, you will have less headaches . Awesome no?
The biodynamic spirit
Biodynamics before being certified by a label, is above all a philosophy of life. This philosophy was born in 1924, under the foundations proposed by Rudolf STEINER , an Austrian philosopher and scientist.
Avant-garde at heart, Rudolf saw the problems of conventional and intensive agriculture approaching, with no respect for the land and the environment. By considering the Earth as a “whole”, this scientist with the green feather opens the door to a new world, one where nature and man work together.
By working in biodynamics, we then take the time to listen to nature, to respect its high points and its quiet times. The stars, the lunar and solar cycles are highly respected, there are even days when the vines are not touched. If the operation of biodynamics arouses your curiosity, we suggest you read all the details in this article .
Also taste our selection of organic wines from our other beautiful wine regions of France , with our Languedoc , our Bordeaux , our Côtes-du-Rhône and our Corbières .