The wines of Bouzeron, Rully, Mercurey, Givry and Montagny
By Jean-Pierre Renard and Wink Lorch
This Guide was last updated on 10 August 2010
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Vineyards are planted with both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the village of Rully. © Mick Rock/Cephas
In southern Burgundy, between the Côte d’Or and the Maconnais, the Côte Chalonnaise takes its name from the city of Chalon-sur-Saône on the river Saône, an important tributary of the river Rhône. The city, with its old town, is very pleasant without the formality of Beaune or Dijon to the north, and it makes a good option as a base for touring the nearby vineyards. The attractive surrounding countryside provides a gentle contrast to the south-eastern vineyard-clad hills of the Côte d'Or to the north; instead here you will discover a rolling countryside of vineyards interspersed with meadows and woods.
The Côte Chalonnaise includes several wine villages that give their names to specific wine appellations; from north to south you will find Bouzeron, Rully, Mercurey, Givry and Montagny. Both the red Pinot and white Chardonnay wines offer good value, with many examples serious enough in quality to satisfy the most exacting of wine lovers, especially when partnered with a fine meal. Slowly gearing itself up to wine tourism, many Côte Chalonnaise wine producers are very welcoming, and delight in showing you their cellars and sharing their passion for their often under-appreciated wines.
In addition to the wines, there are classic Burgundian gastronomic delights to be enjoyed, most notably at the famous Lameloise in Chagny, the only three star Michelin restaurant in the Burgundy wine region. The river Saône marks the boundary between Burgundy and the gentle Bresse countryside, famous for its chickens and other food delights.
The Côte Chalonnaise continues south from the Côte de Beaune towards the hills of the Mâconnais. Unlike in the Côte d’Or to the north there is no continuous slope and the vineyard areas are scattered amongst small hills which protect the vines from frost and hail. The vineyards are south and southeast facing at an altitude of 250 to 370 metres.
The soils are clay-limestone on a base of Jurassic limestone, and where there is a predominance of clay and marl Chardonnay is favoured, as in Montagny and Rully. The climate is continental with cold winters, very warm summers and mainly dry autumns. Weather at vintage can be quite variable, though less so than further north.
The Côte Chalonnaise is south of the Côte d’Or and north of the Mâconnais centering on the city of Chalon-sur-Saône, close to the A6 Motorway, exit 25. The drive from Paris takes just over three hours. The TGV train line stops at Mâcon six times a day, taking just 1½ hours from Paris, with another 40 minutes on to Chalon. The closest international airport is Lyon, which is about 1½ hours drive, and Paris or Geneva airports are also reasonably accessible. There is a regional airport in Dijon with some flights within Europe during summer.
Chalon-sur-Saône Tourist Office,
4 Place du Port Villiers, 71100 Chalon-sur-Saône
Chagny Tourist Office,
2 Rue des Halles, 71150 Chagny.
Tel: 03 85 87 25 95 Fax: 03 85 87 14 44
Givry Tourist Office,
2 Rue de l’Hôtel de Ville, 71640 Givry.
Buxy Tourist Office,
Place de la Gare, 71390 Buxy.
Southern Burgundy tourism website
Official Burgundy wine website.
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