Jules Lavalle wrote a very important book in 1855 on the terroir, wine and people of Burgundy. A few years later, Lavalle went on to head a group in Beaune that would piece together the first comprehensive classification of the vineyards in the region. His book was largely based on the work of Denis Morelot from 1831. Morelot is credited with putting a pen to the notion of terroir in Burgundy.
In 1936, the INAO used the classification which Lavalle helped create to establish the first official classification which would from then on place government boundaries and guidelines upon the Côte d’Or(AOC).
This is of course a simplified summary of Jules Lavalle and the classification of the Côte d’Or. More can be found through online searches.
I found an original copy of the 1855 book filled with an amazing amount of information such as thoughts on quality comparisons of different appellations, princing and vintage comparisons, lithograph maps, etc. The book is quite difficult so it’s taking a bit of time to read through. The 7 foot long lithograph map(shown in the frame) is a bit of an oddity as I had never heard of it before finding it. It dates back to 1855 as well. I can only imagine that it wad released with the book originally.
I really enjoy reading these old perspectives on Burgundy. Not all of the classification in this book was held up through the official classification. Part of the enjoyment is seeing both how things were changed and how accurate these opinions are even some 150 plus years later.
When reading things like this, I can’t help but feel more drawn to Burgundy. Stepping in these vineyards that have been worked for the same goal for thousands of years is just awe inspiring.