The Burgundy region is a very complicated subject. With its ancient and extremely complex soils and limestone cliffs, varied pockets of meso- and microclimates, and notable vintage variation, the terrain and climate themselves lend to some of this complexity. Add in the small parcels owned by most producers due to the effects of the Napoleonic code, and you’ve got a recipe for a very wide range of wine. Luckily the main red grape in the area is Pinot Noir, which simplifies things a tiny bit!
Winemaking in this region predates the Roman conquest. The producers pride themselves on their wines’ demontration of terroir, for which the very expressive Pinot Noir grape is the perfect canvas. Burgundy wines, in contrast to Bordeaux, tend to be delicate, silky, and subtle. They are interesting food pairing wines due to their high acidity and nuanced nature. Many will age very well, but some vintages like 2009 produce ready-to-drink wines.
Red Burgundies typically offer aromas of red fruits such as cherries and cranberries, brambly spice, and sturdy but light tannins. Some vintages like the cold and rainy 2004 result in green notes of green bell pepper or chili pepper and an interesting wet forest floor aroma. Vintages like 2009 can create almost Sonoma or Russian River Valley style Burgundies.
Some of my favorite producers are l’Arlot, Meo-Camuzet, Henri Gouges, Domaine de la Vougeraie, Matrot, and Lafon. For value-priced wines look for basic Bourgognes from producers like Carillon and Matrot.