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A love affair with Burgundy has always tugged fiercely at the heart strings. These days, however, it seems to tug ever more fiercely at the wallet too, and wines from Burgundy’s heralded sites in the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune have fallen out of reach for many wine lovers.
But happily, there’s still considerable value to be found in historically underappreciated regions like the Côte Chalonnaise.
A narrow stretch of land linking the Côte de Beaune to the north and the Mâconnais to the south, the Côte Chalonnaise boasts no grand cru appellations. Historically, it’s known for fresh, fruity wines best enjoyed young. But, as throughout Burgundy, the consistency of wines produced in the Côte Chalonnaise have improved dramatically in recent decades.
From north to south, the Côte Chalonnaise encompasses the villages of Bouzeron, Rully, Mercurey, Givry and Montagny. In terms of terroir, it is built on the same bedrock of limestone soils that sweep the escarpment of the Côte d’Or, but the landscape of the Côte Chalonnaise is better described as a scattering of hills of varying altitude and exposition. As in the Côte d’Or, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the mainstays—the exception being Bouzeron, the only village in Burgundy devoted to the Aligoté grape.
Mercurey and Givry are the region’s most prominent villages, both known for perfumed, seductively spiced Pinot Noir with a longevity increasingly reminiscent of pricier wines from the Côte d’Or.
Montagny, a village with a surprisingly high proportion of premier cru vineyards, produces only Chardonnay. Rully produces both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but is best known for its white wines and Crémant de Bourgogne.
As demand and pricing for Burgundy continue to balloon upwards, hidden treasures in the lesser-known reaches of Burgundy aren’t likely to remain hidden for long. Here are seven worth trying.
Domaine Besson Givry 2019 Le Petit Prétan Premier Cru (Givry); $36. Buy on Wine.com. Whiffs of smoke and charred cacao nibs accent piercing red-cherry and plum flavors in this intensely fruity yet nuanced red… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Domaine Chanson 2019 Givry; $45. Find on Wine-Searcher. Hints of crushed stone and licorice lend subtle complexities to ripe, richly concentrated flavors of preserved boysenberry and cherry in this wine… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Domaine de la Renaissance 2019 La Barre (Rully); $40. Buy on Total Wine & More. This juicy, mouthwatering wine contrasts crisp bites of sour cherry and raspberry with spicy, smoky hints of roasted coffee bean and cacao… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Domaine Jeannin-Naltet 2020 Clos Des Grands Voyens Monopole Premier Cru (Mercurey); $47. Find on Wine-Searcher. Pronounced in perfume and silky in texture, this robust, sun-drenched Pinot Noir offers generous blackberry and blueberry flavors offset by a spine of acidity… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Michel Sarrazin et Fils 2019 Sous la Roche (Givry); $30. Find on Wine-Searcher. Invigorating whiffs of salt and crushed stone mingle into blackberry and plum in this ripe yet elegant Pinot Noir… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW