Myth Busted: Pinot Noir Isn't the Only Grape that's Legal for Making Red Wine in Burgundy

By Adam Teeter |

This piece originally appeared on

Contrary to popular myth, Pinot Noir isn’t the only red grape that’s allowed to be grown in Burgundy. Sure, there’s the Beaujolais region of Burgundy, whose wines are made from Gamay, but we’re talking about Burgundy proper, home of outrageously expensive Pinot. Isn’t there a law that says Pinot Noir is the only red grape that can be grown? And isn’t the only red wine produced in Burgundy made from 100% Pinot Noir? Not exactly…

While it’s true that wines labeled as Red Burgundy may only be made from Pinot Noir, growers across the region grow other varieties of grapes, and they use these grapes to make another wine you may encounter from time to time, Bourgone Pass-tout-grains. The name of the wine literally translates to “pass all the grapes,” which basically means it’s a mish-mash of whatever extra grapes happen to be in left in the vineyard. Often this is Pinot Noir and Gamay, though Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris can also be included.

The wine is light and bright, but far from simple, as the two grapes that are primarily used, Gamay and Pinot Noir, come from many of the same vineyards that make fantastic Red Burgundy. But these wines aren’t for purchasing and letting sit on their side for years on end, they’re meant for everyday drinking. Even a region as esteemed and well-regarded as Burgundy needs a quaffable weeknight wine, and this wine is it.

So the next time someone tells you the only red wine made in Burgundy is Red Burgundy, you can let them know about Bourgone Pass-tout-grains. Because everyone needs an easy drinking red blend every once and a while, even the Burgundians.

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