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The Côte Chalonnaise is a wine zone in the Burgundy region in France. It’s located in the Châlon-sur-Saône, which in early Gallic history, was a site where wine that was shipped upstream was offloaded and delivered inland. While vineyards in neighboring Beaune and Mâconnais are more concentrated and close together, the Chalonnaise vineyards are scattered with other agricultural sites amongst its rolling landscape. The vineyards here happen to be strategically placed in the areas with the most limestone-rich soils, which provide the most acid balance and structure in the grapes. The summers in the Chalonnaise are warm and dry, perhaps drier than neighboring areas owing to the slightly more elevated landscape, with cold winters.
The wines from Côte Chalonnaise were once considered Burgundy bargains for their lower prices and consistently good quality when compared to more prestigious appellations. However, prices are now about the same as other regions, catching up to market demand for the Burgundy name in general. Luckily quality is still quite reliable.
The primary varietals grown are Pinot Noir for reds, with some Gamay and their respective variants, and Chardonnay for whites, with some Aligoté. There are no Grand Crus within the Chalonnaise, although there are some Premier Crus. It is divided into five communes:
Bouzeron: a small village that specializes in white wines from Aligoté.
Givry: This area was once considered one of the powerhouses of the Côte Chalonnaise, producing predominately red wines from Pinot Noir, with a very small percentage of Chardonnay. There are about 30 Premier Crus vineyards located within Givry.
Mercurey: along with Givry, considered one of the most prestigious communes in the Chalonnaise. They have a lot in common, with a large focus on Pinot Noir production and minimal Chardonnay, as well as the number of Premier Crus titles.
Montagny: specializes only in white wines from Chardonnay, with nearly a dozen Premier Crus. This is also an excellent source of the sparkling Cremant de Bourgogne.
Rully: produces nearly equal amounts of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This is not considered one of the more prestigious areas in the Chalonnaise, but there is still some excellent wine produced, and a considerable amount of Premier Crus. ~Amanda Schuster
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