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Wine 101: Burgundy Part I: Chieftains and the Mediterranean

Before diving into this Burgundy series, be sure to check out the previous Wine 101 episodes on Burgundy, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay for some important context!

How did Burgundy become Burgundy? Well, the story starts all the way back in 1200 B.C. when the Gauls moved into what is now part of modern- day France, Belgium, and Germany. Six hundred years later, vines were introduced to Massalia, modern-day Marseille, and the Gauls developed a thirst for wine, especially those from the Mediterranean coast and the Italian peninsula. North of the Alps, the Celtic peoples started trading with Mediterranean villages, importing olives, grain, and, of course, wine into the region.

The Gauls eventually moved farther south, pillaging Rome and taking it for themselves before the Romans forced them back north and conquered the territory for themselves. By the 1st century B.C., Romans arrived in modern-day Burgundy and discovered that, despite a belief that temperatures were too cold, vines somehow grew. So they planted more.

First, Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus introduced the region to Gouais Blanc. Then, prompted by an unusual climate warming period, the grape variety crossed with others native to the region, creating no fewer than 150 new varieties. The most famous? Chardonnay, one of Burgundy’s star grapes.

On this episode of “Wine 101,” Keith kicks off his new series exploring how Burgundy transformed into the famous wine region it is today. And it begins with the Gauls and their obsession with wine south of the Alps. Tune in for more.

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“Wine 101” was produced, recorded, and edited by yours truly, Keith Beavers, at the VinePair headquarters in New York City. I want to give a big old shout-out to co-founders Adam Teeter and Josh Malin for creating VinePair. Big shout-out to Danielle Grinberg, the art director of VinePair, for creating the most awesome logo for this podcast. Also, Darby Cicci for the theme song. And I want to thank the entire VinePair staff for helping me learn something new every day. See you next week.

*Image from JFL Photography via

The article Wine 101: Burgundy Part I: Chieftains and the Mediterranean appeared first on VinePair.

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