France: Burgundy

Côte de Nuits

Wines from the northern part of the Côte d'Or
By Russell Hone and Jean-Pierre Renard

This Guide was last updated on 26 April 2011
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Main grape varieties


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.

The grape variety of Beaujolais, but also grown in a small way in the Côte de Nuits where it can be used blended with Pinot Noir in Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains.


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.

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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