The Côte d’Or is divided into two main viticultural regions, the Côte de Nuits being the more northerly of the two. The northernmost tip lies just south of Dijon, and the region extends down to the Côte de Beaune, onto which it abuts. Named after the town of Nuits-St-Georges, it is most widely reknowned for it’s red wines, although there are a few worthy white wines made here also. Geologically, the region sits on a combination of Bajocian, Bathonian, Callovian and Argovian limestones, with some Liassic marlstone. The climate is continental, with a wide annual temperature difference. Spring rains and frost can be a problem, as can Autumn rain, which may interfere with the harvest. This is true for the whole Côte d’Or. The vineyards lie on the slope between the plain to the east, and the hills to the west. Soils on the plain, to the east of the N74 (not illustrated), are too fertile for quality wine, and on the hills it is too sparse. The easterly aspect also aids exposure to the sun.
The most northerly village of note is Marsannay, an up and coming wine region for the production of value Burgundy. Next is Fixin, a village which can produce some good value wines, although they never achieve greatness.
Further south come the villages of the Côte de Nuits that produce some of the great wines of Burgundy. Firstly, Gevrey-Chambertin, which impresses with the combination of its muscular, weighty attitude and paradoxical perfumed edge. Morey-St-Denis is a meaty, intense wine which can be superb, but like many of these famous names overcropping and poor vinification techniques can result in some very weak wines. Chambolle-Musigny may be marked by a wonderful, floral, fragrant bouquet, whereas at Vougeot we have an unusual situation. Much of the wine is classified as Grand Cru as it lies within the walled vineyard of the Clos de Vougeot, but only a small part of this wine is truly of Grand Cru quality. At best it can be a tasty, full-bodied, richly fruited wine, although it is not one of the great Grands Crus.
Flagey-Echézeaux is unusual as it lies to the east of all the other vineyards. The wines can be quite fine. Next is Vosne-Romaneé, a fine set of vineyards which can produce some superb wines. Vosne-Romaneé can have a rich, creamy, sensuous texture, even in the village wines from a good producer. Other than Nuits-St-Georges, there are no other villages of huge significance.
The appellations of the Côte de Nuits are as follows:
Grands Crus: Such wines are not required to bear the village name. Thus wines produced, for example, from the Grand Cru Chambertin Clos de Bèze would not include the village name of Gevrey-Chambertin, where it is situated. These are as follows:
Gevrey-Chambertin: Chambertin, Chambertin Clos de Bèze, Charmes-Chambertin, Chapelle-Chambertin, Griotte- Chambertin, Latricières-Chambertin, Mazis-Chambertin, Ruchottes-Chambertin.
Morey-St-Denis: Bonnes Mares, Clos Saint-Denis, Clos de Tart, Clos de la Roche, Clos des Lambrays.
Chambolle-Musigny: Musigny, Bonnes Mares.
Vougeot: Clos de Vougeot.
Vosne-Romanée: La Romanée, La Tâche, Richebourg, Romanée-Conti, Romanée-St-Vivant, La Grande Rue.
Flagey-Echézeaux: Grands-Echézeaux, Echézeaux.
The Grand Cru Bonnes Mares straddles the villages of Morey-St-Denis and Chambole-Musigny. Nuits-St-Georges has no Grands Crus.
Premiers Crus: These are too numerous to name here. As with Chablis, a wine blended from several such sites will be labelled as Premier Cru, whereas a wine from an individual vineyard will bear the vineyard name, eg. Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Clos Saint-Jacques.
Village Wines: The villages of the Côte de Nuits are Marsannay (La-Côte), Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St-Denis, Chambolle Musigny, Vougeot (although anything other than Grand Cru Clos de Vougeot is rare), Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-St-Georges. Village wines from Flagey-Echézeaux are sold under the Vosne-Romanée appellation.
Sub-Village Appellations: These include Côte de Nuits Villages (may be applied to wine from Corgoloin, Comblanchien, Prémeaux, Brochon, and declassified wine from Fixin), Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits (applies to a large number of communes to the west of the Côte d’Or), and basic Bourgogne.