The Champs Élysées of Burgundy
Heading south from Dijon, the vines of the Côte de Nuits gradually appear, flanking the gentle slopes. High up in the distance, the vines of the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits can be seen, nestled between forests and fields of cereal crops.
Heading south out of Dijon, the land away to the right starts to climb, indicating the start of the Côte de Nuits, a strip some 20 kilometers long and nicknamed the Champs Élysées of Burgundy. This is the territory of a great many of Burgundy’s Grand and Premier Crus. The roadmap here seems to turn into a map of wines and each village evokes a thousand flavours to any wine lover.
Covering less land than the Côte de Beaune, the Côte de Nuits rarely exceeds a kilometer in width, and sometimes shrinks to a narrow strip of 2-300 meters. It is tucked between the plain to the east and the hills, often bare on their summits, to the west.
The vines, like the villages, are nestled against the shallow, even slopes, protected by the westerly winds at an altitude of 230-350 meters. The plain is shared between fields and vines but every nook and cranny of the Côte is home to a plot, with the soil and aspect determining the qualities of the wine produced there.
Whether one opts for the main road or the wine trail through the vines, the explorer will gradually enter the kingdom of the Pinot Noir, king of the grape varieties, for which Philippe the Bold chased away the “loathsome” Gamay back in the 14th century. The Côte de Nuits is home to an exceptional diversity of terroirs, giving rise to a rich patchwork of brown shades with splashes of limestone white. Drainage is very good thanks to the slope and the gravelly soil.
These varied conditions give rise to the large palette of aromas to be found in Pinot Noir: cherry, blackcurrant and blackberries in its youth and then, over time, touches of spice and sometimes hints of leather emerge.
Côte de Nuits and Hautes-Côtes de Nuits. Total area: 3,775 hectares
Source: Vins Bourgogne