France: Burgundy

Côte Chalonnaise

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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Main grape varieties

Red

Pinot Noir
The main grape variety for Burgundy reds with much clonal variation, it has thin skins, making it prone to disease and thus is difficult to grow. It also requires a lot of skilled winemaking with careful oak handling. However, when it is very good one can understand why winemakers in other regions of the world try to emulate it. Aromas range from red fruits (raspberries, redcurrants etc) to more gamey or fungal tones. It is relatively high in acid, and being thin-skinned, gives reds with a relatively light colour and tannin.

Gamay
The grape variety of Beaujolais, but also used in lesser quantities in the Côte Chalonnaise where it can be used blended with Pinot Noir in Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains.


White

Chardonnay
The principal and virtually only white grape variety allowed within Burgundy. A hardy vine, Chardonnay thrives well in Burgundy and marries well with oak, so many winemakers ferment and age the wine in barriques. Flavours vary widely depending on terroir and on winemaking methods, but it always gives wines of good structure that may be ageworthy.

Aligoté
A high acid variety that, in good years, can produce a ripe fruity wine. It accounts for about 6% of total plantings in Burgundy.


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