Understanding Burgundy’s Regional Appellations

What is an appellation?

An appellation defines and protects geographically-named wines and is also the means to limit and control the types of grapes grown within an area as defined by the government or a governing authority.


How many regional appellations are there in Burgundy?


There are 23 regional appellations which themselves can be divided into 3 sub-categories.


Bourgogne regional


Bourgogne mousseux

Bourgogne passetoutgrains

Coteaux bourguignons -ex Bourgogne grand ordinaire

Crémant de Bourgogne


A regional pinot noir
A regional pinot noir









The next are called “sub-regional”

Cote de Nuits villages

Côte de Beaune villages


A sub-regional appellation
A sub-regional appellation










Then AOC burgundy geographic denominations

Bourgogne chitry

Bourgogne Côte Châlonnaise

Bourgogne Côte d’Auxerre

Bourgogne Côte du Couchois

Bôurgogne Cote saint Jacques

Bôurgogne Coulange la Vineuse

Bourgogne Epigneul

Bourgogne hautes Cotes de Beaune

Bourgogne hautes Cotes de Nuits

Bourgogne le Chapitre

Bourgogne la Chapelle Notre Dame

Bourgogne Montrecul

Bourgogne Tonnerre

Bourgogne Vezelay

A sub-regional Vezelay Bourgogne
A sub-regional Vezelay Bourgogne









What is their position in Burgundy’s wine region classification?


Regional appellations account for 51% of Burgundy’s total production, that’s nearly 100 million bottles! They are found at the base of the AOC classification and their price range is from 8€ to 15€

This is what most Burgundians drink on an average basis. It would be ridiculous to think that Burgundians drink Premier or Grand Cru every day!

How can you gage the quality when buying regional wines?

As for all Burgundy wines, regardless of their classification, the estate name is a gage of quality and this is quite often reflected in the price. At the lower end of the Regional scale, where the price of the bottle is around 8 euros, it would tend to be a lesser known estate (in the Cotes de Nuits and Cotes de Beaune districts). As soon as you start seeing some more famous estates, the prices rises. However, since the winemaker’s reputation is at stake whatever the level of classification, the quality will be very high.

If you buy in the Maconnais or Côte Chalonnaise, you will get some very good quality regional wines for around 10 euros. In Macon, some excellent Chardonnay can be found for 7 to 8 euros!!! Look for Macon Azé or Pouilly Loché or Pouilly Vinzelles for example.



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