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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Burgundy's Gold

                           Cote d'Or:  the World's Most Expensive Vineyards?                       

The Cote d’Or (“golden hills”) is Burgundy’s most famous district. It’s also some of the priciest real estate in the viticultural world, producing the Rolls Royces and Bentleys of Burgundy’reds and whites. These golden set of hills, which begin <200 miles south of Paris, run about 30 miles north to south but are only a mile in width. The district is located between the mustard-renowned Dijon and Beaune (Burgundy’s quintessential medieval gem of a town). 32 of Burgundy’s Grand Cru vineyards are located in the coveted Cote d’Or.

The Cote d’Or is made up of a string of tiny villages at the base of the golden hill range. These villages have become synonymous with word-class wines. (If you’ve never heard of the villages of Gevrey-Chambertin, Vosne-Romanee or, Puligny-Montrachet then you are a beginner in the Burgundy scene.) The best vineyards of the Cote d’Or are those in middle of the hill range, the kind of “sweet spot” for the best terroir (best soil, best weather, best drainage).

The Cote d’Or is actually split into two sections. The Cote de Nuits is the “money-honey” district. The northernmost 13 miles of the golden hills, the Cote de Nuit is red country (99% pinot noir). Grand Crus include the some of the most elite wines on the globe such as La Romanee Conti, La Tache and Clos Vougeot. It’s no accident that 24 of the 33 Grand Cru vineyards of all of Burgundy are positioned in the celebrated Cote d’Or.

The Cote de Beaune, the southern section of the Cote d’Or, is home to the planet’s most famous Chardonnay (7 of Burgundy’s white Grand Crus are located in the Cote de Beaune). While the Cote de Beaune is famous for its whites, 70% of its production is devoted to Pinot. If I had a last meal, a Grand Cru white from Corton- Charlemagne or Montrachet would be included; Corton is my favorite red Grand Cru from the Cote de Beaune.

All of the participants on this Fall’s tour to France will visit wineries in both the Cote de Nuits as well as the Cote de Beaune of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or. You’re in for a “golden” experience.

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