Wine 101 - The Wines of Burgundy

Why this complex region is one of the world's best


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The Côte Chalonnaise

The Côte Chalonnaise abuts the southern reaches of the Côte de Beaune, and the vineyards in the north of the Côte Chalonnaise pick up right where the Côte de Beaune leaves off -- which is to say that the wines tend to be a bit rustic and, while they can be very good, there is a distinct difference in quality if we are to paint with a broad brush. Having said that, the prices don’t even approach those garnered by the more famous appellations to the north, so this is prime country for discovering Burgundian values.

There are Premier Cru vineyards in the Côte Chalonnaise, though no Grand Cru, and while the labeling regulations require that wines labeled as Premier Cru come from these designated vineyards, the truth is that here in the Côte Chalonnaise the designation Premier Cru is much more loosely applied. In practice, virtually all wines from the region that have a minimum alcoholic strength of 11.5% can be labeled as Premier Cru.  

The best villages in the Côte Chalonnaise include Rully, Mercurey, Givry and Montagny.

Map courtesy of Kobrand

Mentioned in this article


  • Hi Gregory. The map is too small. Could you create an image that could be enlarged if you click on it?

    Nov 24, 2010 at 6:17 PM

  • Snooth User: japiok
    558329 2

    Jullie vergeten de Santenay. Smaakt beter dan de Côtes.

    Nov 24, 2010 at 10:12 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 233,904

    Hi Elinore,

    You can visit Kobrand's website to see the image in their full glory. We do not, at this time, have the systems in place that would allow enlarging the images.

    Thanks for your thoughts though, we will add this to or to do list!

    Nov 25, 2010 at 3:28 AM

  • The author Roald Dahl once wrote that "to drink a Romanée-Conti is like having an orgasm in the mouth and nose at the same time".

    Is that all we need to know?

    Nov 25, 2010 at 11:02 AM

  • A very nice overview but, as you allude to in the introduction, is really only scratching the surface of the complexity that is Burgundian wine; a complexity that can be very vexing to fans of the region that are not flush with cash. The fragmentation of the vineyards, and the vast cast of characters at work within them, means that there is a tremendous diversity of styles and quality within each commune, making it very difficult to really ascribe a particular character to a commune and, from the consumer's point of view, extremely difficult to make an informed buying decision. One thing is certain: there is no such thing as a good cheap Burgundy from the Beaunes or Nuits; there may well be plenty of not-so-good expensive ones though. Nonetheless, we forgive all such shortcomings upon opening a good one, for the rewards are beyond the narrow view of accounting.

    Nov 26, 2010 at 2:07 PM

  • Nodding in agreement with Aylwin Forbes here. For years I had same issue. Occasional beauty with real strawberry, tannin, oak balance, others smelling of damp cabbage, thin and acidic. Many just dull compared to more reliable Oregon, Russian River, US wines.
    I was only helped by going to tastings of the en primeur offerings.
    I would still recommend dumping any prejudices against new world pinot noirs, there are many fine ones coming out of NZ for instance.

    Feb 23, 2011 at 4:55 AM

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