Wines of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or

Date: January 05, 2011

About Wines from Aloxe-Corton Valley of France
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Burgundy wines in the Côte d’Or
A beginner’s guide
The Côte D’Or is at the heart of the Burgundy vineyards, and it’s on this ‘terroir’ that some of the best known wines are produced. The Côte D’Or is divided into two main wine regions, the Côte de Nuits which is the northern most region, starting just south of Dijon and runing to Courgoloin, a few kilometres south of Nuits-Saint- Georges, and the Côte de Beaune which starts at Alexe-Corton and finishes at Dezize-les-Maranges.

It’s the only appellation that produces red, white and rosé wines. Certain good quality Marsannays can remind you of the smaller Gevery Chambertin wines in a lighter version and with a smaller price tag of course!

This vineyard that produces white and red wine and it isn’t very well known. These wines have a lovely colour and a bouquet that develops with time. This wine can be kept for years if you can resist the temptation to drink it!

This wine growing community produces the most Grands Crus , 9 in fact. Gevrey Chambertin is a rich, forceful red wine and yet delicate at the same time!

This lesser known area produces red and white wines. The wine produced tends to be light and has a highly perfumed bouquet.

The French say of this aromatic red Chambolle Musigny wine, that it is ‘the femininity of the Côte de Nuits’. The soil here contains more calcium and this brings finesse to this delightful wine.

This red wine grown on a clay based soil has a wonderfully perfumed bouquet, watch out for notes of strawberry and violet.

The vines growing in this area were classified into 3 parcels, the ‘haute’ vineyards being reserved for Popes, the ‘milieu’ for kings and the ‘bas’ for the monks. Today, these 50 hectares are owned by 80 wine growers so the quality of the wine depends on the area in which it was grown. The Clos-de-Vougeot Grand Cru red wine is probably one of the best wines in the Côte D’Or and is produced in the ancient Papal vineyards. A small amount of white wine is produced but it is best known for its reds.

This is the most highly reputed red wine growing ‘terroir’ in the Côte D’Or and 8 Grand Crus are produced here, of which the Romanée-Conti is the most famous. The French say of this wine that it is the “velour” of the Côte D’or

Red and white wines are grown here. In the red wines you will find the strength of the Gevrey wines combined with the Vosne-Romanée “velour”. and they have more body and colour than the Chambolle-Musigny wines.

Côtes De Nuits-Villages
These wines can come from Fixin, Brochon, Prissey, Comblanchien, Corgoloin and Premeaux. They represent good value for money.

The Côte de Beaune starts at the northern limit of Ladoix-Serrigny, from Aloxe-Corton to Santenay, crossing Savigny-lès-Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses, Beaune, Pommard, Volnay, Monthelie, Auxey-Duresses, Saint-Romain, Mersault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, and finishing in the Saône et Loire. Mersault white wine is one of the best to be found in Burgundy. This is the only area in the Côte D’Or where the fossilised oyster shell ‘terroir’ enables Chardonnay production to take place.

The appellation of this wine will be followed by the name of the land or ‘climate’ on which the grapes were harvested. The Corton Grand Cru produces red and white wines. Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru produces only white wines as does Charlemagne. Aloxe-Corton however, produces powerful and excellent red wines. Certain years allow for an almost perfect wine on this “terroir”, suitable for even the most discerning wine connoisseur e.g. Corton Charlemagne is a rich golden, virulent wine in which you will notice notes of cinnamon..

This appellation will be followed with either ‘Premier Cru’ or the name of the vineyard on which it was harvested. These wines have ‘force’ and strength and can be a little austere but age extremely well.

Sauvigny-Lès Beaune
These smooth red and white wines, represent good value for money and are highly aromatic.

These easy to drink red and white wines are smooth and ‘round’ and are excellent value for money.

Some excellent red and white wines are to be found here, suitable for the best tables, 23 vineyards are classed as ‘Premier Cru’.

Côtes de Beaune
Red Pinot Noir wine here provides good value for money. The wine growing ‘terroir’ contains more clay so the wine has strength and force and is less austere.

26 of the vineyards are classed as ‘Premier Cru’, these are strong and delightfully coloured red wines that age well.

Volnay red wine is elegantly sophisticated and has real finesse combined with delicate aromas. Wine harvested in Monthélie merits more attention and represents excellent value for money!

There are currently 9 Premier Cru excellent quality red and white wines produced here.

Saint Romain
Red and white wines harvested here are fruity and have finesse, a pleasure to drink!


Highly reputed for its white Chardonnay, a little red wine is also produced. It is the only wine growing area in the Côte D’Or suitable for Chardonnay. The white Mersault wine has a beautiful golden green colour and ages well. You should be able to find notes of ripe grapes and hazelnuts, Cheers!

Puligny Montracher
Mostly produces superb fine and elegant white wines that are highly fruity that are similar to the best Mersault. The red wine has a grand finesse and ages giving an exquisite bouquet. 4 Grand Crus, Chevalier-Montracher, Montracher, Bâtard-Montracher and Bienvenue-Bâtard.

Produces a majority of powerful red wines , the most famous Grand Crus are Montracher, Bâtard Montracher and Criots-Bâtard-Montracher, representing a undeniable analogy with certain very good Côte de Nuits wines.

Saint Aubin
This lesser known wine growing area that merits a tasting , being situated close to the more famous Chassagne and Puligny vineyards. White wine here is of good quality and not too expensive.

Offers red and white well balanced, light and fruity wines that are good value for money.

© Jacquie Boulton-Bridoux with special thanks to Marc Regaine

Why not look at the other great sections of the FrenchEntrée Burgundy website:

Boating holidays in Burgundy
Burgundy holiday rentals
Burgundy B&B
Burgundy events
Burgundy tourisme
Burgundy food and drink
Burgundy wine

And if you’re looking to buy a house in Burgundy check out our Burgundy property guide


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