13 Apr Burgundy, but above, la Côte de Nuit
Small review of one of the richest french region about terroir’s diversity. With more of 27 000 hectares (105 square miles) it divides in 5 sub regions which are ; from, north to south : le Chablis et l’Yonne, la côte-de-Nuits, la côte-de-Beaune, la côte Chalonnaise et le Mâconnais.
As we saw the precedent week, Burgundy carries pridely the pinot noir colors. In white wine it is the Chardonnay that is cultivated but Kay’s tasting are essentially about red wines that’s why we don’t dwell on these grape variety.
La côte de Nuits is 160 ha (0.62 mi²) of vineyard which products 77 500 hectoliters (around 2 millions of imperial gallons). At Dijon’s south, la côte d’Or is the Burgundy’s viticultural heart. Getting his name from Nuits-Saint-Georges, located at the extreme south, la côte de Nuits starts at Marsannay.
It is tight (only few hundred of meters), the vines took root in a millefeuille of limestone layers where they thrive perfectly. The sub region is under influence of a continental climate, the summers are hot, autumns pretty dry and winters are frosty.
La côte de Nuits is also the story of the monks of the Citeaux’s abbey, located around of Nuits-Saint-Georges. It is to them that we owe the major part of the amenagement of the vineyard but egally the famous Clos de Vougeot at XII century. In fact between VI and XV century, the Burgundian’s monastics fellowships had patiently elaborated methods to work the vine. Their authentics knowledges been transmitted from generation to generation, until our days.
La côte de Nuits counts some 30 of appellations splitted in village, premier cru and grand-cru. It covers 135 premier crus in addition of the 24 grand cru.
La côte de Nuits is the kingdom of Pinot Noir : it produces 90% of red wines ; wines which can be powerfull or sweet but which have in common density, depth, finesse and guard potential.
If all wines are based on Pinot Noir, why they are differents ? First the grounds are all very varied and product wines absolutly uniques in aromas and textures. Secondly the vinification styles of la côte de Nuits are diverse. The personnal style of the productor or wine merchant and the decisions which that he takes at each steps of the vinification processus determine in a good part the wine’s quality. That’s the reason why, in addition to the various caracteristics and complexity of the wineyards grand et premier cru, the most of oenologists gave more significance of the productor’s reputation and vintages than the wineyard’s name when it’s about value the whole wines of Burgundy.
For each wine’s passionate there is nothing more pleasant than to drink a good wine made of Pinot Noir in the vines around Vosne-Romanée or Chambolle-Musigny ! The landscapes of Burgundy including the côte de Nuits are quite particular becauce the wines are located on combes. The wines are essentially located on the low sides of the coasts but they expand along the departemental road, the typical burgundian houses ponctuate the path. Parcels of vines are splited up by little low walls called « clos » and this is picturesque.
If you never been to France that’s already a problem but if if you made the travel and have not made the detour in Burgundy, then it’s a shame. Come back without waiting and soak in one of the most beautiful world’s region.