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Famed for its great whites of Puligny, Chassagne, Meursault & Corton it is ironic that there is much more red produced in this southern part of the Cote d'Or.

 7 of Burgundy's 8 white Grand Crus are situated here, plus one of the red GCs.  Stretching 30km south past the town of Beaune to Cheilly-lès-Maranges, the Côte de Beaune has a more expansive feel and gentler slopes than the Côte de Nuits. The most favored sites being on the limestone slopes which form the backbone of the region. The mineral-rich soils and sunny exposures here make for excellent terroir, considered by many to be the best in the world for high-quality Chardonnay. Its finest Chardonnays are characterised by an incomparable intensity, complexity and finesse, while its Pinot Noirs generally have more softness and finesse than the Cotes de Nuits. The best reds come from Beaune 1er Cru, Pommard and Volnay, plus the famed but sometimes mistreated Grand Cru of Corton.

The climate of the Cote de Beaune is of continental type, with slightly higher temperatures and rainfall than in the Cote de Nuits. Springtime frosts are a danger and hail can also seriously damage vine crops. Wines labeled ‘Beaune’ come from the appellation adjoining the town while those labeled Côte de Beaune (red or white) come from a group of vineyards on the hill above. Côte de Beaune Villages is a red wine that can be made from a number of lesser, named villages in the region while the less quality-driven Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune appellation covers red, white and rose wines from all over the Cote de Beaune.

As in the Côte de Nuits, the fragmentation of the Côte de Beaune’s vineyards brings the single biggest hurdle for any wine lover; namely the unpredictability of its wine. The human factor is paramount and too many wines from great vineyards have been made by producers who do not do them justice.  That said, the percentage of poorly made wines is far lower than ever.  Great value wines can be enjoyed from an ever growing number of small grower-domaines.