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Who drinks all the Bourgogne Rouge?

Just added the latest instalment of my Burgundy guide over on Winedoctor; for those who haven’t noticed it, I am in the middle of replacing my 2-page guide with a more fitting 16-page affair, something with a little more depth (and yet it is still a very superficial beginner’s guide, only natural in view of the nature and importance of the region). I was spurred on by my most recent return to the region earlier this year.

One figure that I have carried through from my old guide, although suitably enlarged and update with the latest data (taken from Sylvian Pitiot’s and Jean-Charles Servant’s “The Wines of Burgundy” (13th edition, 2005) in the Collection Pierre Poupon series, is the pyramid of Burgundy appellations:

What this shows is that 53% of Burgundy is bottled under generic regional appellations. These include Beaujolais & Beaujolais-Villages, all the Bourgognes (Rouge, Blanc, Aligoté, Passe-Tout-Grains and more local appellations, e.g. Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Bourgogne Chitry), Saint Bris, Crémant de Bourgogne, Mâcon and so on.

So is it the locals who drink all this stuff – remember that’s at least one bottle (or its volume equivalent – some will perhaps be sold by other methods, such as en vrac) produced for every bottle of village wine, from basic Gevrey-Chambertin up through he premiers crus to Chamberting itself.

You don’t see a lot of generic Burgundy promulgated in foreign markets, other than from a few top producers such as Leroy and a handful of others. Or have I just not noticed it? Who drinks it – is it all consumed locally, or are there British, American and other merchants out there selling these wines by the proverbial bucket load?

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