Notations on the Côte de Nuits

The holy grail of Pinot Noir in the Cote d'Or

 


The Côte de Nuits houses 99 percent of the red Grands Crus of Burgundy’s famous Côte d’Or. Seeing as these wines are some of the most limited production wines in the world, this says a lot about this terroir.

By and large, this 17 mile stretch of land is Pinot Noir’s holy grail. (I insert here a quick plug for the Côte de Beaune, whose top reds easily rival those of the Côte de Nuits but often aren’t as lauded. This may be because they favor restraint to power. If Burgundy isn’t about subtlety, haven’t we missed the point? I digress….)

From south to north, here are my notations on the Côte de Nuits’ major villages.

Photo courtesy of Megan Mallen via Flickr/cc

Nuits-St.-Georges

Nuits-St.-Georges is cleanly broken into sides, the south and the north. In the language of those intimate with Burgundy, plots lying south of Nuits (referencing the town, not the entire AOC area) are referred to as “Nuits-Premeaux” while those north of town are denoted “Nuits-Vosne”. The differences between the two sides are undeniable yet equally delightful for their own reasons.

The southern, Premeaux side yields wines that tend to be more rambunctious yet more age-worthy. The northern, Vosne side produces wines that are refined and elegant, like the adjoining village of Vosne-Romanée. It is worth taking the time to pick out a top producer from Nuits-St.-Georges as the success of many vignerons in the village has led to too much lackluster wine tagging onto the tails of the best – or even better – producers. Wines from this well-recognized appellation can be characterized as being filled with black fruits, light animal notes and – for Pinot Noir – brusque tannins. A bad boy, if you will.
 

Photo courtesy of didier21121 via Flickr/cc

Vosne-Romanée

Once again, here’s a wine appellation that quasi-encompasses two villages. The village level appellation covers territory in its eponymous town as well as the next-door Flagey-Echézeaux. Villages aside, the critical vineyards here sit on the mid-slope where the Grand Crus reside, all eight of them, with two in Flagey-Echézeaux.

Here, the minutiae of terroir and microclimate parade their full colors: the wee ditch between vines or the 3 percent difference in slope grade radically change the resulting wines. Even amongst the Premier Crus, there are clear variations between the qualities of different rows and parcels of vines. Regardless, Vosne-Romanée is home to some of the most graceful and simultaneously powerful Pinot Noir in the world, abounding with red fruits and truffles.

Photo courtesy of Isbardel via Flickr/cc

Vougeot

Vougeot is one of the more confusing appellations of Burgundy. The village is dominated by its huge clos (a walled-in vineyard) that is blessed as a Grand Cru (Clos de Vougeot is listed on the label). However, village level wines bear almost the same name (with a simple Vougeot indication). Then, there is the fact that only about 1/3 of the Grand Cru clos is arguably grand, sitting on the highest portion of the site. Yet again, it pays to go with a trusted producer versus the fame of the appellation. Taste-wise, Vougeot shares characteristics with Nuits-St.-Georges, just double the power and with a pinch of finesse.

Photo courtesy of Michal Osmenda via Flickr/cc

Chambolle-Musigny

The chalk-ridden soils of Chambolle-Musigny make “pretty” wines, always dressed up with red cherry “rouge” and rosy “lip-stick.” While not always the longest-lived Grands Crus (and mind you they do live quite long anyway), these are surely where we find the most aching heartthrobs. The slope of the marvelous Musigny Grand Cru is impressively steep, requiring the replacement of downward-directed soil deposits from time to time. Both Grand Cru are splendidly scented with Musigny leaning to the ethereal and Bonnes Mares to the muscled. Cross-comparing village levels from Nuits and Beaune, Chambolle-Musigny and Volany bear many resemblances.

Photo courtesy of corsin via Flickr/cc

Morey-St.-Denis

If there is a “sidelined” appellation of these Côte de Nuits heavy-hitters, it is Morey-St.-Denis. Morey offers five Grand Cru (one shared, surely not surprisingly by now, with Chambolle-Musigny). Unusually, two of these are monopoles, or entirely owned by one producer. However, the Morey-St.-Denis character is caught somewhere between Chambolle and Gevrey, making it less uniquely distinctive. Its figurative position “on the bench” can make its wines marginally more attractive in price, depending on the producer. Generally, the wines favor Chambolle in their structure and Gevrey in their flavors.

Photo courtesy of alainalele via Flickr/cc
 

Gevrey-Chambertin

Gevrey-Chambertin is a powerhouse. It not only has the most Grands Crus of all communes in Burgundy, but also the largest red Premier Cru production. It also has, as you might be guessing, a lot of cross-over in terms of naming (ex. Charmes-Chambertin can be Mazoyères-Chambertin). Gevrey’s wines tend to be deep in color, rich in flavor and sturdy with tannin.

Photo courtesy of Michal Osmenda via Flickr/cc
 

Slideshow View

Mentioned in this article

Comments

  • Snooth User: kevswha
    1120114 14

    i want to buy lindauer champagne fromm nz can i do it thru your company, please respond? this is my 2nd attemp to get info

    Jul 26, 2012 at 4:05 PM


  • Snooth User: SM
    1097030 218

    Thanks Ms. Canterbury for your in-depth article about the villages of the Cote de Nuits. I do believe that the terroir of Bourgogne and particularly de Nuits and Beaune is some of the best in the world, if not the best.

    It it is all rather subjective I suppose, but anyways your writing about all the communes and their sub-divisions is very helpful.

    I find the whole Bourgogne region one of the most challenging and also perplexing of the wine world, so articles such as these help break it down into bite size pieces that we can remember easily.

    Cheers!

    S.M.

    Jul 27, 2012 at 12:03 AM


  • Snooth User: Christy Canterbury MW
    Hand of Snooth
    1060100 63,248

    Hi S.M.,

    Yes, Burgundy is massively complex, making it both exhilarating and frustrating.

    Since you think Burgundy is truly a land of GREAT terroir (as I do!), check out their bid for a UNESCO designation for their "climats": http://www.climats-bourgogne.com/en...

    Santé!

    Jul 27, 2012 at 10:48 AM


  • Thank you for this great synopsis! I really like your writing. I am still learning about Burgundy and you have provided a straight forward, easy way to grasp a complex region. -Lynne Bryant, CS

    Jul 27, 2012 at 4:03 PM


  • Snooth User: Christy Canterbury MW
    Hand of Snooth
    1060100 63,248

    Hi Lynne,

    Thanks so much! I think it makes it easier to write about Burgundy because I love it so much!

    Stay tuned! There are more pieces to come!

    Santé!

    Jul 27, 2012 at 4:20 PM


  • Snooth User: coltspam
    1327708 34

    nice

    Aug 02, 2013 at 10:57 PM


  • Really good

    Aug 03, 2013 at 12:20 AM


  • Snooth User: Mydietarea
    1328028 33

    Thats amazing

    Aug 03, 2013 at 1:39 AM


  • Really good

    Aug 05, 2013 at 5:09 AM


  • really nice

    Aug 12, 2013 at 11:11 PM


  • Really good

    Aug 17, 2013 at 2:01 AM


  • really nice

    Aug 30, 2013 at 6:10 AM


  • Snooth User: WesZemel
    1338755 33

    awesome

    Sep 04, 2013 at 11:31 AM


  • good and nice

    Sep 05, 2013 at 5:26 PM


  • marevellous

    Sep 06, 2013 at 12:53 PM


  • loved it

    Sep 06, 2013 at 8:37 PM


  • Interesting

    Sep 07, 2013 at 12:45 AM


  • Snooth User: lumpyflink
    1339865 37

    marvelous

    Sep 09, 2013 at 4:18 AM


  • maerevellous

    Sep 11, 2013 at 1:54 AM


  • fabulous

    Sep 11, 2013 at 4:39 PM


  • Fabulous article, thank you.

    Sep 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM


  • Thats helpful...

    Sep 13, 2013 at 12:02 AM


  • Superb

    Sep 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM


  • Fantastic!!! :-)

    Sep 17, 2013 at 3:00 AM


  • Splendid article, thank you so much.

    Sep 19, 2013 at 3:13 AM


  • Interesting

    Sep 20, 2013 at 1:33 AM


  • Snooth User: MatildaEva
    1368891 18

    This is incredible, wow

    Sep 20, 2013 at 4:39 AM


  • awesome

    Sep 24, 2013 at 5:36 AM


  • excellent

    Sep 26, 2013 at 3:45 PM


  • Interesting

    Sep 27, 2013 at 5:04 AM


  • Useful...!!

    Oct 09, 2013 at 5:12 AM


  • Snooth User: baldytrip
    1385272 33

    This is incredible, wow

    Oct 21, 2013 at 11:07 PM


  • Thanks Ms. Canterbury for your in-depth article about the villages of the Cote de Nuits. I do believe that the terroir of Bourgogne and particularly de Nuits and Beaune is some of the best in the world, if not the best.

    Nov 05, 2013 at 1:01 AM


  • This is incredible, wow

    Nov 05, 2013 at 1:02 AM


  • Snooth User: jmacstory
    1410141 35

    Very nice

    Nov 19, 2013 at 5:01 AM


  • Very nice

    Dec 12, 2013 at 1:42 AM


  • This is incredible, wow

    Dec 13, 2013 at 4:05 AM


  • good

    Dec 18, 2013 at 12:15 AM


  • amaizing

    Dec 21, 2013 at 1:06 AM


  • Snooth User: kaputscrub
    1451630 33

    Thats fantastic...

    Jan 10, 2014 at 12:02 AM


  • Fabulous article, thank you.

    Jan 15, 2014 at 11:40 PM


  • good

    Jan 16, 2014 at 4:37 AM


  • Fabulous

    Jan 16, 2014 at 5:08 AM


  • Snooth User: gamysplash
    1487309 35


    Brilliant...!!

    Apr 04, 2014 at 4:48 AM


  • Snooth User: rainmagma
    1501318 36

    great

    May 08, 2014 at 2:40 AM


  • Snooth User: burylot
    1501708 36

    nice

    May 09, 2014 at 1:33 AM


Add a Comment

Search Articles


Best Wine Deals

See More Deals »

Daily Wine WisdomMore Wine Tips








Snooth Media Network