I’ve discussed it before, but this is a new label that you might come across for the first time with the 2017 vintage. People have been proposing this label for almost 20 years but now it’s done – and it’s for both the reds and the whites – you will find many in my 2017 reporting to-date.
With this label there’s a certain extra precision about what should be in your glass – a geographical precision – though on the other hand it’s yet another complexity for the labelling of burgundy wine – note – there are now 14 variations of a Bourgogne label with a geographical precision, such as Bourgogne Côte d’Auxerre or Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits1. There are a further 27 geographical labels in the Mâconnais too, such as Mâcon-Azé. So do we need another Bourgogne label? – It’s a fair question.
What do you actually get from a Bourgogne Côte d’Or?
- In both colours there is a lower maximum yield and a higher degree of alcohol required from the grapes – versus the existing rules for Bourgognes – but for the better producers it will make a no difference to what they do or what they produce.
- Only Chardonnay or Pinot Noir are allowed – no gamay…
- The vines for producing these wines, must as the name suggests, be in the Côte d’Or – of-course there will (theoretically) be no label difference between grapes that come from the communes of Cheilly-lès-Maranges or Vosne-Romanée2. But grapes from the Chalonnaise, Mâconnais, Beaujolais or even the Hautes-Côtes are not allowed – they have their own labels. This will make a large differentiation to some of the big volume négociant cuvées that lean heavily on the contributions of grapes from the Beaujolais and the Mâconnais – before this new ‘precision’ their labelling was exactly the same as (e.g.) that of a small Gevrey domaine’s Bourgogne produced only from vines in the commune of Gevrey-Chambertin. That’s the crux, the new precision.
- Because of that, it ‘should’ have no effect on pricing – there is absolutely no difference in the existing cuvées – before and after – it’s only a question of whether their grapes all qualify, or not, for the new label. But a cuvée from a négociant that is ‘Bourgogne Côte d’Or’ will of-course be more expensive than one with 15% Gamay from Beaujolais – yes, that’s allowed in Bourgogne Rouge!
There are 40 communes2 (villages) that are allowed to produce Bourgogne Côte d’Or with an available potential of 1,000 hectares of vines (two-thirds of which are planted to pinot) but the specific label of Bourgogne Côte d’Or must be elected at harvest time – i.e. recorded as such – or the wine is ‘just’ Bourgogne. In 2017 practically 200 hectares of production (1.35 million bottles) were declared as Bourgogne Côte d’Or Rouge, and 91.5 hectares (0.6 million bottles) were declared as Bourgogne Côte d’Or Blanc.
Visibility amongst vignerons remains variable, as are their opinions. Some, as you may note from my Vintage 2017 reporting, are enthusiastic, some are unenthusiastic – and others profess no knowledge (or sometimes interest!) It is the usual state of affairs. But we should be clear that a certain rivalry – or friction – has always existed between the Côte d’Or and the other regions of Burgundy – and I include Beaujolais in that – as, for instance a Mâcon or a chardonnay from Beaujolais could wear the same label as a chardonnay from (for example) the commune of Puligny-Montrachet – and they are most certainly not the same!
So is it elitist, just another complication, or do you value the extra geographical precision? I think it’s in the eye of the beholder, but an extra ‘precision’ it most certainly is…
1The 14 ‘Geographical Bourgognes’ are: Bourgogne Chitry, Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise, Bourgogne Côtes du Couchois, Bourgogne Côte d’Or, Bourgogne Côte Saint Jacques, Bourgogne Coulanges-la-Vineuse, Bourgogne Épineuil, Bourgogne Hautes Côte de Beaune, Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits, Bourgogne La Chapelle Notre Dame, Bourgogne Le Chapitre, Bourgogne Montre-cul (or Montrecul or En Montre-Cul) and Bourgogne Tonnerre.
2The villages that are allowed to produce Bourgogne Côte d’Or are:
- In the department of the Côte-d’Or:
All of: Aloxe-Corton, Bligny-lès-Beaune, Brochon, Chassagne-Montrachet, Chenôve, Chorey-lès-Beaune, Comblanchien, Corgoloin, Corpeau, Couchey, Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Gilly-lès-Cîteaux, Ladoix-Serrigny, Marsannay-la-Côte, Morey-Saint-Denis, Puligny-Montrachet, Santenay, Vougeot. Parts of: Auxey-Duresses, Beaune, Chambolle-Musigny, Dijon, Flagey-Echézeaux, Magny-lès-Villers, Meursault, Monthelie, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Pernand-Vergelesses, Pommard, Premeaux-Prissey, Saint-Aubin, Saint-Romain, Savigny-lès-Beaune, Volnay, Vosne-Romanée.
- In the department of the Saône-et-Loire:
Parts of: Cheilly-lès-Maranges, Dezize-lès-Maranges, Remigny, Sampigny-lès-Maranges.
A bunch of journalists, myself included, joined with the BIVB in the restaurant Côte d’Or in Saulieu, the geographical centre of the department of the Côte d’Or, to taste the first wave of wines with the Côte d’Or label – it was almost as if it had been planned that way!
It was a good showing for both colours – but in-line with the vintage in general, the whites had a clear advantage in this 2017 vintage.
Most of the wines were a little too cold, but that wasn’t much of a problem as they could warm in the glass or my hand:
2017 Maison Albert Bichot, Secret de Famille
About half barrel elevage, the rest in tank for 8 months, before assembly and a further 6 months in tank.
A compact but fresh and pure nose. Bright attack, direct, fresh, a little saline. Excellent – long, slightly dry finishing!
15 months of elevage.
Hmm, that’s a nice and silky width of aroma – very inviting. Ooh – that’s a beauty – super-silky, bright, pure, a little creamy oak – but very subtle and supportive oak. Surprised! Bravo!
Château de Cîteaux – Philippe Bouzereau
‘Low sulfur usage’ and 12 months of barrel elevage.
Another quite compact nose, but still one of freshness. Bright attack, wide on the palate, a little agrume, faintly saline. Another excellent wine.
Domaine du Clos des Poulettes
Tank elevage – cool fermented – bottled after 8 months.
A much more open nose – extra sweetness and ripeness here. Quite large in the mouth, some structure, open, a touch of oak. This is very good – but the oak masks the energy of the finish a little, today.
Domaine Fabien Coche
12 months of elevage in 500 litre barrels, plus another 6 months in tank once assembled.
Hmm, a concentration of fruit aroma here – ripe but fresh – attractive. Nice shape and volume in the mouth – clarity and deliciousness. Excellent again.
Sylvain Dussort, Cuvée de Ormes
Vines in Ormeaux and Pellans with 12 months barrel elevage before assembly in tank, then another 4-6 months in tank before bottling – the duration is vintage dependent.
A nice freshness of aroma but another that’s rather compact. Direct, fresh, energetic, mouth-watering, more mineral than fruit. A wine of drive and structure – could do with a touch more charm today, but the finish is super.
Patrick Javillier, Cuvée des Forgets
Barrel elevage, sometimes with batonnage – it depends on the vintage – time in tank before bottling for a total elevage time about 16-18 months.
Also quite a compact nose, of freshness but a suggestion of density below. Nice, wide, slowly growing intensity, a touch more supple than the last and really very tasty – excellent.
From Pellans, half of Pellans is classed as Meursault villages. Bottled three weeks ago… 10,000 bottles of this vs 20,000 of the latter
A little more weight of aroma here. Bright, depth, complexity, layers of flavour here – easy! Bravo!
It depends on the vintage, but 10-15 months of elevage with 10-25% new oak.
Hmm – the first wine that adds a little floral extra to the nose – nice. Direct and fresh – the vintage – but also with a nice depth to the flavour – energy too. Absolutely delicious, but a touch behind the Oligocène – though this nose is nicer. Bravo!
12 months barrel elevage – one-third in 500 litres, the rest 228s. There follows 4-6 months in tank before bottling.
A more compact nose – but it reflects that of most of those other producers from Meursault. Bright, pure, good attack, with an excellent width of finishing flavour. Excellent wine!
There was another Michelot wine, but given the similarity of the labels – I didn’t realise that is missed it!
Domaine Terres de Velle
Fermentation and elevage in barrel (10% new) for 10 months, followed by about 6 months in tank before bottling.
Hmm, a suggestion of reduction below, but about is a lovely width of high tones and faint flowers – lovely. Bright, incisive, wide, citrus energy, long and slightly mineral. A great finish too – Bravo!
They own almost 7 hectares of Bourgogne – all grapes from the Premeaux sector – Les Chaillots, les Grands Chaillots – 100% barrel and 20% new – but 400 litre barrels. Also one foudre.
A deep nose, perhaps a touch of reduction here, but also some developing florals. Mouth-filling, round, lovely texture with just a slight framing by the tannin – but no grain. Supple and long finishing. Ooh – that’s really super wine!
Maison Albert Bichot, Secret de Famille
A narrow nose but with height and depth too. Fresh, energetic, a little tannin – but hardly any grain. Wide finishing – lovely – faultless.
Domaine Philippe Charlopin-Parizot
15 months of elevage.
A deeper nose, textured, oaked but open and attractive. Round, very fine – oak-enhanced – texture, layers of flavour. Finely crafted but effectively rather oaky wine.
Three parcels in Meursault make up this wine – Les Durots, Les Lameroses and Clous Perrons. All destemmed, barrel elevage – 20% new – for 12 months, followed by 2-3 months in tank before bottling.
Very modest colour in the context of the others. Bright red berries – almost a redcurrant aspect to this aroma. Round a little more rustic texture but very delicious flavour – this is lovely wine of fine finishing depth of flavour too – it’s certainly an individual!
Domaine Huguenot Père et Fils
A nose that has a little attendant reduction, swirling seems to freshen it a lot, with fine and focused berries the result. The reduction persists a little in the flavour though. But the texture and width of good flavour is fine. Carafe…
12 months barrel elevage and another 6 in tank – 10% of the barrels were new.
There’s a little oak here, but there’s also depth and texture to what’s quite an impressive nose. Round, plenty of drag to the texture from the tannin, but practically no grain – depth of flavour. If you offered me this as a villages I’d be quite happy. Bravo!
Domaine Frédéric Le Philippe, Cuvée Lucien
All the elevage in 1 year-old barrels.
A bright, forward, high-toned fruit – almost too much! Equally forward, red-fruited freshness – a compote of redcurrants here. Non-standard for sure, indeed particular, but actually a very tasty wine.
Domaine Catherine et Claude Maréchal, Cuvée Gravel
Longer elevage with plenty of newer barrels.
A deep, dark nose, maybe a touch of reduction but there’s also flowers in here. Yes some reduction in the flavour too – mouth-filling, plenty of tannin. Wait a year or two and/or carafe!
Quite a mix of elevage here – 500 and 228 litre barrels plus a cement egg – for 12 months. There’s a further 4-6 months in tank before bottling.
A more compact nose, but there’s depth and high-tones too. Good volume and energy here. There’s tannin of-course and a slowly mouth-watering, ingraining quality to the flavour. This is lovely wine.
Château de Santenay, Clos Philippe Le Hardi
12 months of barrel elevage, then bottling.
A rather duller impression to this nose – there is depth, but it’s a little tight. Nice volume and shape in he mouth. There’s plenty of tannin but not with overt astringence. In the end, this is an okay wine…
Domaine Cécile Tremblay
Vines in the communes of Vosne and Chambolle.
A freshness above and a depth though also with some oak accompaniment. Good volume and depth of flavour – here with much more interesting fruit. One of the best for sure – the oak’s hardly apparent on the palate – young but excellent wine, maybe even better!
12 months of elevage here, one-third of which, in barrel.
Quite a lighter colour. The nose is a little subdued but does open more attractively with work – eventually with a lovely fruit! Nice shape in the mouth, a very red fruit – another redcurrant style. Quiet delicious but also a little ‘non-standard’ – yum!