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Burgundy: Minor Appellations With Affordable Quality

Steen Öhman Steen Öhman
Burgundy wines have become very expensive, in fact they are among the most in the world, and therefore it is important to explore the less well known appellations to find affordable wines, with a price tag that eases the pain and that offers a good everyday drinking. This is your guide to affordable quality in Burgundy.

I have tasted and collected Burgundies for more than 25 years and never lost the interest for emerging producers and new wines. This is the beauty of the diversity of Bourgogne.

The issue is however that Burgundies have become very expensive, and therefore I have started to explore the lesser regions of Burgundy – to find affordable wines, with a price tag that eases the pain and offers everyday drinking.

This has led me to some of the most exciting areas of the Côte d`Or where both old and new producers explore in depth what the fine terroirs can offer. One of those areas is the focus for this article: Côte de Nuits-Villages, a close neighbor of the big appellations.

Since the geography and the appellations of Burgundy can be a bit complex, I will try to create a practical understanding of Côte de Nuits-Villages, with references on location and main producers.

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High quality and equally high popularity have made Burgundy one of the most expensive wine regions in the world, with an average price of over 19 000 USD for a bottle of Domaine de La Romanee-Conti.

 

Côte de Nuits-Villages – The Basics

 

Côte de Nuits-Villages encompasses approximately everything that remained after the big appellations were created.

This means that it is divided in two main areas: (1) separated in the north by the big appellations of Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-Saint-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Flagey-Echezeaux, Vosne-Romanée, and to the south by (2) Nuits-Saint-Georges.

The two sections of Côte de Nuits-Villages are therefore both in the north with Fixin and Brochon and in the south Premeaux-Prissey, Comblanchien and Corgoloin, on the border with Côte de Beaune. However not all vineyards in a commune use the Côte de Nuits-Village name, as the vignerons can choose other appellations available on that specific area.

In reality, it’s only a few vineyards on the north, in Fixin, Brochon and Premeaux-Prissey that actually use the Côte de Nuits-Villages on the label. In the south however, the appellation is dominant in the villages of Comblanchien and Corgoloin primarily as they are the core of Côte de Nuits-Villages, but also because there are no alternative appellations to use.

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Côte de Nuits-Villages are the areas right above Gevrey-Chambertin, including Fixin and the north part of Brochon, as well at just below Nuits Saint-Georges until the border with Cote de Beaune.

 

Côte de Nuits-Village, North

 

There are very fine Côte de Nuits-Villages wines produced near the village of Brochon, just north of Gevrey-Chambertin. Actually, one of the best producers in Gevrey-Chambertin, Denis Bachelet, is also responsible for some of those wines in the Brochon area – more precisely, from plots in Queue de Hareng, Vignois and Créole.

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Photo: Denis Bachelet in Gevrey-Chambertin

 

The Denis Bachelet Côte de Nuits-Village is of the same sensual quality as the other Bachelet wines. An absolute fine choice even in lighter vintages like 2017 - delightful tension, lovely mineral note, and first and foremost a refined expressive and silky fruit.

Côte de Nuits-Village, South – Corgoloin and Comblanchien

 

The core of Côte de Nuits-Village area is in the south, at Corgoloin and Comblanchien, just below the Nuits-Saint-Georges appellation. Here we find some very interesting wines from good producers.

One of them is Domaine de Bellene under the management and ownership of Nicolas Potel, who makes some delightful and quite affordable wines from this area compared to many other Burgundian wines.

As part of their portfolio there are (1) the Côte de Nuits-Villages Blanc Monts de Boncourts - a vivid and mineral driven white - and (2) Côte de Nuits-Villages Vieilles Vignes from two old plots (Aux Montagnes - planted in 1946, and Les Boulardes – plantend in 1954) in the Comblanchien area  – lovely mineral driven wine with crushed stones. Fine hedonistic qualities in both wines.

Côte de Nuits-Village, South - Just south of Clos de la Maréchale

 

The top vineyards of Côte de Nuits-Villages are just south of Clos de la Maréchale - the southern vineyard of the renowned appellation of Nuits-Saint-Georges.

One of the larger producers in the area is Domaine Jean-Marc Millot who owns a very interesting vineyard called Aux Faulques which produces wines with mineral notes and good depth, resembling wines from the southern part of Nuits-Saint-Georges, and offers a great value for money.

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Photo: Alix Millot of Domaine Jean-Marc Millot

 

Top Producers – A Great Example to look for

 

Côte de Nuits-Village also houses some prominent, or should I say “top”, producers who have found a very fine expression of terroir, many with old vines.

A great example is Domaine Jérôme Galeyrand, which produces fantastic wines from both Gevrey-Chambertin and Côte de Nuits-Villages terroirs.

The Les Retraits Comblanchien, Côte de Nuits-Villages, is one of his top cuvées - a tremendous wine made from the vineyard just next to Clos de la Marechale on the Comblanchien side. Indeed, such cuvee proves the immense potential of Côte de Nuits-Villages as, in my view, is a great match for some of the 1er crus in Nuits-Saint-Georges.

Côte de Nuits-Villages has a lot to offer. It has fantastic potential with good and even great wines to be found, for a fraction of any bigger and more renowned appellation of Burgundy. It is worth checking out.

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More on Burgundy? Here is the previous pieces of this series:

 

>> PART1: How to Start A Burgundy Wine Collection 

>> PART2: Burgundy's Recent Vintages, A Collector's Take

>> PART3: Major Minor Appelations of Burgundy

 

 

 

 

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