Journey to Burgundy's Côte de Beaune
Friday, June 13, 2014 in News
The story of Burgundy is a tale in two parts. The northern Côte d'Or is home to many of the region’s most famous red wines; rare and highly sought-after with the price-tags to match. Further south lies the region of the Côte de Beaune. Overshadowed by the fame of its northern neighbour, it is nonetheless home to some of the world’s finest white wines and many charming, well- made Pinot Noirs that offer terrific value for money.
The Côte de Beaune forms the southern part of the Côte d'Or. A region with variable topography, it starts between Nuits-Saint-Georges and Beaune, and extends southwards for about 25 km to the Dheuneriver. The northern part of the regions produces fragrant light-bodied Pinot Noirs, while further south lie the great names of white Burgundy including Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. The far south of the region sees a return to red wines in Santenay.
Like all of Burgundy, a hierarchy of appellations exists in the Côte de Beaune starting at generic AC Bourgogne and moving upwards to Grand Cru . Within the Côte de Beaune there is the broad appellation Côte de Beaune Villages, encompassing wines from one or more of 16 villages in the district excluding Aloxe-Corton, Pommard, Volnay and Beaune.
Rather confusingly four vineyards on a hill above Beaune are labelled with the designation of Côte de Beaune, whilst the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune is a separate appellation for the hills to the west of Beaune. While many delicious and well-priced wines are made at this regional label, it is at village level where the up-and-coming best value wines of the region can be found.
Below is a quick guide to some of the better known appellations of the region.
Beaune is the commercial centre of the Côte d'Or and is also the biggest appellation by volume of production. Most of the big negociants have substantial holdings in the region. Of the 450 ha area over 322 ha are occupied by 28 Premier Crus.
Beaune is also famous for the Hospices de Beaune. A long estalished charity, the Hospices is funded by their endowment of 55ha of vineyards on the Côte d'Or. Every year on the third Sunday in November the wines of these vineyard holdings are auctioned setting a benchmark for prices for that vintage. The proceeds of the auction are given back to the charity.
One of the most famous appellations in the region, Pommard is known for producing full-bodied, robust and tannic wines. The second biggest area by production after Beaune, approximatly 135ha of vineyard area is Premier Cru of which Les Epenots and Les Rugiens are the most renowned.
Volnay is renowned for producing delicate, elegant and graceful wines. The appellation spans 242ha of vineyards, of which 115ha is divided among 26 Premier Crus. Some of the most notable of these are Bousse d'Or, Champans, Clos des Ducs, Les Caillerets and Santenots. Red wine from the Santenots vineyard is classified as Volnay Santenots, whereas white wine from the same vineyard can call itself Meursault Premier Cru or Meursault Santenots.
Want to find out more? Discover Langton's range of wines from the Côte de Beaune here.