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The "Climats de Bourgogne"
The “Climats du Vignoble de Bourgogne” (of the Burgundy Vineyards) have been put forward to be classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. But, what is a “climat”?
In Burgundy, the term “climat” does not correspond to the dictionary definition, related to the atmospheric and meteorological conditions of a precise place.
Bernard Pivot, author and Chairman of the Support Committee for the Association campaigning for the nomination of the “Climats du Vignoble de Bourgogne” as a UNESCO World Heritage site, says: “In Burgundy, when one speaks of a “climat”, one does not raise one’s eyes to the sky, but lowers them towards the soil”.
And this is right because, in Burgundy, a “climat” is a plot of vine, defined by the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origine) in 1936, with its identity card (giving specific details of the history, geological and meteorological conditions).
The Burgundy vineyard is split into a lot of small plots and forms a mosaic of 1247 climats which stretch along the “Côte” (Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune) from Dijon in the north to Santenay in the South. It is closely linked to the appellations its produces, organized as a pyramid with an established hierarchy: Appellation Régionale, Village, Premier Cru, Grand Cru.
Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot, Corton, Chambolle-Musigny…as many charming names expressing origin, history, specificity of the place and the soil, exposure of each plot, in fact that is the “climat”.
This specificity of the terroirs linked to the architecture of towns and villages of Burgundy builds up an outstanding heritage which we must preserve for the future generations and which deserves its place on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
It takes about ten years to consider a classification. The application for the “Climats du Vignoble de Bourgogne” dates back to November 2006 and we have now reached stage 5 out of 6.
The 21 members of the intergovernmental World Heritage Committee will meet in Germany in summer 2015, for the 39th session to give their final decision.
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