The Côte de Beaune lies at the southern half of the Côte d’Or, running from Ladoix-Serrigny to the slopes of Maranges, in the south. Over twice the size of the Côte de Nuits, the Côte de Beaune produces truly great red wines but even more celebrated dry whites – arguably the finest in the world. The Côte de Beaune is framed in three outstanding grand cru appellations, Corton-Charlemagne and Cortonin the north and Montrachetin the south. Between these we find premiers crus of superlative quality across Beaune, Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. The appellation covers both white and, in majority red wines. The Côte houses seven out of the eight Burgundy grand cru white wine vineyards with Corton a single vineyard red. Red Côte de Beaune tends to be rounded and full, the whites exemplary in their purity and finesse.
Descending into the Côte de Beaune from Nuits-Saint-Georges, the topography immediately looks different. The area is more expansive, gentler, with the best vineyards situated mid-slope. One exception to this is the vineyards of Aloxe-Corton whose wines, perhaps as a result, have more of a Côte de Nuits feel about them.
Unlike the Côte de Nuits, where the soil layers remain fairly static, those of the Côte de Beaune change from limestone to marl with flint, clay and chalky topsoil. A pale-coloured, marl topsoil is noticeable in Puligny and Chassagne – markedly different to neighbouring Meursault.
The climate in the Côte de Beaune is marginally wetter than in the north and the grapes have a tendency to ripen a little earlier. The slope is easterly facing, in the main, but there are combes , which present the possibility of different aspects, north-eastern and south-eastern, with vines planted at between 225m and 380m above sea level. As in the Côte de Nuits, the complexity afforded by nature is as nothing to the complications which arise from the fragmented character of the vineyard holdings and the related, very variable input of growers in both vineyard and cellar.
Côte de Beaune – appellations
The appellation Beaune on a label indicates that the wines come from the vineyards which spread out from the town.
Côte de Beaune designates wines from the hill above and behind Beaune and Côte de Beaune Villages will be a blend from a number of villages. Attractive rolling hills further west produce, mostly red, Hautes Côte de Beaune.
Village of Pommard from Domaine Cyrot-Buthiau's vineyard