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Burgundy – Côte de Beaune

Probably the best Chardonnays in the world grow in the southern half of the famous limestone escarpment that is the Côte d'Or.


The Côte de Beaune stretches about 20 kilometres from Ladoix in the north to Cheilly-lès-Maranges in the south. From the labyrinth of terroirs, premier cru and grand cru sites, which are in turn subdivided into single vineyards, come – many wine lovers agree – the best Chardonnay wines in the world. There are 27 controlled designations of origin, among them such famous names as Charlemagne, Aloxe-Corton, Pommard, Santenay, Puligny-Montrachet and Volnay. Both red and white wines can be pressed in all appellations except Pommard and Volnay, where only red wines may be produced. The white wine strongholds are Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault and Chassagne-Montrachet.


The soil formations are dominated by limestone beds from the Jura, interspersed – depending on the location – with marl, gravel, chalk and flint. The summers are hot, but heavy hailstorms, as in the summer of 2013, can significantly impair both yield and quality. Dry, sunny, warm autumn days followed by cool nights are important for grape ripening: The temperature difference between day and night promotes the formation of particularly fine fruit aromas in the grapes. Cold, wet autumn days promote the formation of grey rot, which can particularly attack dense bunches of Pinot grapes.


Only Chardonnay and Pinot noir are grown in the 27 appellations of the Côte de Beaune.


The sensory characteristics of the wines are as varied as the different terroirs: Chardonnay is very complex in the Côte de Beaune. Delicate fruitiness and floral aromas dominate. As a stylistic device the wine is aged in small, new oak barrels called pièces. It remains on the fine lees for an extended period, with stirring (bâtonnage) at regular intervals. As a sensory dimension this gives the wines notes of toasted almonds, butter and brioche, together with a great deal of creaminess.Red wines also differ greatly depending on the location. While a Pinot from the Volnay appellation tends towards fragrance and elegance, the wines from Pommard are robust and tannic.

Best age for drinking

3 years for basic whites5-20 years for good Chardonnay vintages from excellent sites3-5 years for basic reds5-15 years for good red vintages from excellent sites.

Popular wines from Burgundy – Côte de Beaune