Bourgogne or Burgundy
Wine has been produced in Burgundy for more than 1000 years, during which time the Benedictine and Cistercian monks carefully recorded notes about how wines produced from particular plots tasted. This research formed the basis of the Burgundy appellation system which divides wines into Regional, Village, Premier and Grand Cru. There are only 5 grapes permitted to be used here but Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are considered without peer here in their ancestral home and dominate the plantings. Owing to severe application of the Napoleonic code, Burgundy is the most fragmented wine region in the world. The law requires that land be divided evenly amongst all children. Consequently, the average size of an estate in the region is only about 8 hectares, and in many cases it will be made up of a dozen small plots (sometimes as little as one row in a field) in many different villages. The famous Clos de Vougeot vineyard, for example, is about 50 hectares and has more than 80 separate owners. Burgundy is famous for beef bourguignon (beef stewed in red wine) and coq au vin (chicken cooked in red wine). Escargots à la Bourgogne (snails cooked in garlic and butter) are also popular. There are also some great Burgundy cheeses, including the incomparable Epoisses.