Of Burgundy, Bordeaux and pork bellies [poll]

Points. Prices. There you have the all-important details in the cynic’s view of the discussion about Bordeaux 2009!

Only, it’s not so cynical according to Mike Steinberger’s posting from yesterday on Slate. While he admits he really likes some Bordeaux, he finds the charm and character of the smaller scale vineyards of Burgundy more rewarding at many levels, including in the glass.

In a nutshell, he says: “In Burgundy, wine is still wine; in Bordeaux, it has been reduced to a number…all those Pomerols and Pauillacs could just as easily be pork bellies. This may be the reality of Bordeaux, circa 2010, but I find it pretty dispiriting.”

I am sympathetic. How about you?

Where does your loyalty lie in the great regional rivalry?

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Related: “Why I’m a Burgundy man” [Slate]
“Why Hate Bordeaux?” [Diners Journal]

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10 Responses to “Of Burgundy, Bordeaux and pork bellies [poll]”

  1. I’ve had 2nd Growth Bordeaux, but never and 1er Burg or Grand Cru, so its hard for me to say the Good Bordeaux I have had were good, I think I need to drink more Burgs

  2. A bit of shameless promotion on my part here, but I really liked the way that German winemaker Klaus Peter Keller described his love for “climats” and Pinot from Burgundy in the video that he and I shot earlier this year in Germany. He offered “on a high level, I find Bordeaux boring”. Here is the video:


  3. Hi Dr. Vino,

    I’m a big fan of your site. However, to answer your question: I’m from Bordeaux and it is difficult to choose, because they both great, yet both quite expensive.

    Under S15 it is difficult to find a decent Burgundy, while they are plenty of approachable Bordeaux at this price. I think that it is a question of point of view, but I think that there are plenty of great wines between $20 and $35, which is pretty much the most that people want to spend with this economy.

    Now if you are talking about the 1st growth, and DRC, and Le Pin, Petrus, etc.. then it is another subject that frankly only concern very few of us among the world of wine drinkers.

    Check some of my Bordeaux and Burgundy articles at http://www.ledomduvin.com, I have a strong opinion about all this ….

    Cheers, LeDom du Vin

  4. Burgundy.
    Nice jacket cover by the way.

  5. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, as I don’t drink a lot of either. I’ve had spectacular examples from both, usually thanks to friends with impressive collections or generous tasting events. I also wonder at times if it’s possible to write anything new or interesting about either region–both have been covered so much in official wine writing for so long, and at some point you start having to explain why a domaine on one side of the street is better than another.

    But I’ll vote for Burgundy here, because I think it’s a great point on a path of learning about French wine. The novice can start out with inexpensive Languedoc, move up north to Rhone, play around in Beaujolais, and then begin to explore Burgundy. And that now intermediate wine lover can continue the journey with Chablis and Champagne, learning along the way how latitude and soils can impact different wines. White, red, rosé, sparkling, you’ve got a lot of options going up that trail.

    Bordeaux, on the other hand, sort of sits alone with its impressive reds. The best whites are sweet, and it’s surrounded by fortified producers Armagnac and Cognac. I think it would be more difficult to learn along the way with Bordeaux–though once you’ve hit a certain level in your wine experience, it can be a very rewarding area.

  6. I think that each has its place, but that Burgundy is truly the better wine and the finer experience. They each have their place, but it seems fair to think of the old adage that Bordeaux is a more intellectual experience and Burgundy a more emotional one.

  7. Neither region has a lock on either virtue or venality.

    And in nearly every respect, from total area planted to vines, to the ratio of producers to total area, to types of grapes planted to the ratio of AOCs to total areas planted…jeez, could any two production areas be less alike than Bordeaux and Burgundy?

  8. I find the hype of Burgundies a little Rousseau-esque. What is it about the love of mom-and-pop vineyards that makes one love their wines by extension, too? I still believe drinking a wine is about enjoying the pleasures and surprises it provides, the thought process that goes into really tasting it. There is rarely any other food I enjoy so consciously and so alert.

    But then, what is wrong with somebody who perfects that to a degree where his success allows him to grow and become a large corporation? If one day the size of the corporation would seriously impact the quality of the wine produced, we would see a decline in demand. But who would really say that these Pomerol’s or Medoc’s are bad? To me it matters what’s on the tongue; the vintner I have in mind when enjoying my wine is secondary.

    Having said that, I do love Burgundies; but I think the approach should be based on the wines themselves, and how they fit ones taste and chosen occasion, and not so much on other people’s approaches to the wines. That does both of them injustice, because we hate the Bordeaux for a reason that’s external to the wine.

  9. Having been to both Bordeaux and Burgundy the farmers of Burgundy win hands down. The farmers are the growers, vineyard masters, pickers, and winemakers. You will see them in the bars and bistros of Beaune in the early evening drinking the local wines in their jeans and work jackets talking about the weather and their vines. They are friendly and always willing to talk about their vines and their wines. Try to find a vineyard owner to talk with in a local bar in Bordeaux……..

  10. I’m sure Burgundy would be a lot more fun and interesting to visit, and I enjoy pinot noir quite a bit, but it seems hard to find many good Burgundy values (excepting Beaujolais) in the US, and the finnicky nature of the wines can really make it a frustrating experience. I simply can’t afford to buy a full case of a very nice Burgundy and taste a bottle every year or so to determine if it is “open” or “closed.”

    I prefer Southern France to either, but I’d pick Bordeaux for value and consistency.


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