Burgundy red wines are produced in an area of France stretching from Dijon south to Beaujolais. The northern section of Burgundy is called the Cote d'Or (hills of gold) and generally, the farther north the Burgundy vineyard, the richer flavored the wine. Here the Pinot Noir grape produces deliciously seductive wines combining grace and power with supple velvet textures and complex flavors. Many of the finest Burgundy vineyards are located halfway up the hillsides, midway between overly fertile valley soils and the too steep and rocky upper slopes.
The southernmost red Burgundy region is Beaujolais, where the grapes used are Gamay rather than Pinot Noir and the wines are made to emphasize fruit and charm. Generally, these Burgundy wines are fashioned to be enjoyed in their youth, slightly chilled to bring out their berry-like character. Beaujolais should be fruity but dry, with an underlying acidity that helps complement an amazing array of foods.
The vineyards of Burgundy are ranked. The very best vineyard sites are labeled "Grand Cru." Other vineyard sites of exceptional (but not Grand Cru) quality are labeled "Premier Cru." A Burgundy wine label will always list the most specific geographic location that the grapes originate from, and typically nothing else.