CORTON-CHARLEMAGNE & CORTON
Three villages lay claim to the Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne and Corton appellations: Aloxe-Corton, Ladoix-Serrigny and Pernand-Vergelesses. Corton-Charlemagne is a white wine appellation, half of which consists of the Le Charlemagne and En Charlemagne vineyards.
Corton is a red wine appellation. Growers may attach the name of a specific lieu-dit (such as Corton-Bressandes or Corton Clos du Roi), or can make a generic Corton from a blend of vineyards.
Beaune is a large appellation whose reputation arguably lags its performance. Two reasons for this are that it confusingly shares its name with both the Côte d’Or’s main city and the Côte de Beaune, and that it was historically dominated by the large négociant houses who are still based in the city.
Fortunately however, this means that there are still some relative bargains here. Producers with holdings in Beaune which are well worth seeking out include Domaine Jacques Prieur, Domaine Pierre Labet, Domaine Rossignol-Trapet and Domaine Lafarge.
Historically the fashionable sibling of nearby Volnay, Pommard’s clay soils make for more corporeal, broad-shouldered styles than those of its neighbour. Changing tastes mean the tables have turned somewhat, but there is plenty to get excited about here: 2020 has suited Pommard down to the ground, the summer ripeness softening the tannins and rewarding whole-bunch fermentation among those who favour this method.
As a red wine enclave in white wine country, Pommard is a source of often surprising value and ageing potential.
Silky, seductive, beguiling and ethereal. Volnay can be all of these things. Despite being surrounded by Chardonnay, this outpost of Pinot Noir has many parallels with the perfumed elegance of Chambolle-Musigny. A relatively small commune, Volnay lies between Pommard and Meursault.
The vineyard slopes, facing east and south, descend steeply, before inclining more gently towards the road below. The soils are marls, with a bedrock of limestone.
Meursault lies in the centre of the Côte de Beaune, with Volnay to the north and Puligny-Montrachet to the south. Although it has become associated with volume and ‘butteriness’, there is in fact a lot of limestone in the soil and corresponding nervy tension in the wines. The best Meursaults need little makeup.
Meursault is primarily Chardonnay country but there is also some Pinot Noir, notably from Les Santenots, which sits on the boundary with Volnay and can be labelled Volnay-Santenots. As with Nuits-Saint-Georges, it is surprising that a village of this renown has no grands crus. Whatever the reason, the best Meursault premiers crus are of grand cru calibre.
For many the pinnacle of white Burgundy, the name Puligny-Montrachet is universally recognised and a stamp of quality. With its rapier-like core of acidity, steely precision and depth of flavour, Puligny is capable of producing wines of great ageing potential.
The village shares the Montrachet vineyard with its neighbour, Chassagne, entitling it to its valuable suffix. We have lots to choose from here, covering a broad range of styles and prices.
Saint-Aubin lies in a side-valley that winds into the hills to the west of Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet, at over 300 metres above sea level. The appellation dates from 1937. The soils are clay-heavy; white wines tend to come from the lighter clays, with high limestone content, with the reds thriving on the heavier brown clay soils.
Previously seen as a good source of value relative to adjoining Puligny and Chassagne, the best wines from Saint-Aubin now rival those from its more famous neighbours.
Sitting at the southernmost tip of the Côte d’Or, Santenay’s plantings consist of around 90% red grapes and just 10% white. Its history dates back to pre-Roman times, when it was prized for its thermal waters, rich in mineral salts.
The vineyards are marked out by the windmill which sits in the premier cru Beauregard vineyard. With the steady march of prices further north in the Côte, this is an appellation which is fast making a name for itself beyond the region.