France_Burgundy_Cote de Beaune_Aloxe-Corton

Aloxe-Corton can claim to be one of the only wine villages in Burgundy to have Grand Crus in red and white. Over half the vineyards in this town are classified as Grand Cru. It is also has one of the smallest populations of any Burgundy village at a paltry 250. A quiet day is an exciting day in Aloxe-Corton but the grand nature of its wines speaks volumes. 

This charming little village has a wonderful history and has been known to create some legendary and very accomplished wines from the sole white Grand Cru, Corton-Charlemagne and reds from one of the many iterations of the red Corton Grand Crus (e.g Corton-Clos du Roi, Corton Marechaudes and plain old Le Corton). There are lovely 1er Cru wines that appeal to a Burgundy aesthete's sensibilities as they do require some searching out. 

Aloxe-Corton also makes especially nice village wines that can be wonderful values and can age quite a bit in the better vintages. The 1er Cru and village wines are mostly Pinot Noir but their are some rare Aloxe village white wines and 1er Crus. The village wines also have a knack for a long slow evolution in the bottle and can develop into complex, gamey and well-fruited wines. If there is any village where you almost have to wait 5-10 years for the wines not to be austere, it is Aloxe-Corton. 

The red Grand Cru Corton, on a big hill, is always a densely packed wine when young that needs many years to come around. It is usually packed with dark fruit, underbrush flavors and a wall of tannin when young. They are prized by connoisseurs for their long lives and the incredible transformation they make from a burly youth to a polished older gentleman. The soil is principally a red chalky clay with marl but can wildly vary depending where you are on the hill. The sun exposition also wildly varies as the hill is so big and has some nooks. There are many sub-designates within the Corton vineyards because of the sheer size of the Grand Cru land and within each of these is there is its own special micro-climate and terroir. Pinot Noir is by far the most planted grape.  A tiny bit of white Corton is made most notably by Louis Jadot. There are over 200 owners, only 26 based in Aloxe, of the Corton Grand Crus so one needs to choose carefully. 

The white Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne is legendary in stature as it takes many years to unfold and reveal
all of its complexities and nuances. This Grand Cru actually goes through Pernand-Vergelesses, Ladoix-Serrigny and Aloxe-Corton. Along with the red Corton this stretch is the largest of grand cru land in all of Burgundy. It is significantly cooler in Corton-Charlemagne versus Corton and there is also a big difference in soils. The soils here are lighter and whiter than Corton and sometimes can give the wines a flinty character not unlike Chablis. These wines typically need 10-15 years to unwind so they can so their racy power, nuance and complexity. Young Corton-Charlemagne is one of the most difficult White Burgundies to drink young as it is almost austere in its minerality and acid structure. They transform remarkably given time.  

One recent development that can have a real impact on this region is the acquisition of some vineyards by the famed Vosne-Romanee estate, the Domaine de la Romanee Conti. To have such a prestigious name in Corton will be good as much of the wine comes from big negociants like Louis Latour and La Reine Pedauque. The quality level will raised when DRC comes to town. Their first expected harvest is in 2012.

Prices on these wines vary. Village Aloxe-Corton can be from $30 to around $40 with 1er Cru Aloxe-Corton going from $45-$60. Corton red Grand Cru's can be some of the best red Grand Cru value in all of Burgundy. They can start as low as $70 and go up to $400 or so for the Domaine Leroy and presumably for the upcoming DRC releases. Corton-Charlemagne stays between $90-$175 with Coche-Dury being a cult-like $1000 and in certain vintages much more. 

Notable Recent Vintages: 2010, 2009, 2008 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1993

Top producers of Aloxe-Corton include (in no particular order- with Corton-Charlemagne's noted in that I only reccomend that Corton based wine, not red or there is no red offered at that domain or there is and I cannot reccomend it):
  • Chandon de Briailles
  • Louis Jadot (red Corton's delicious and great values!)
  • Prince Florent de Merode
  • Louis Latour (only Corton-Grancey)
  • Francois Gay
  • Bruno Clavelier
  • Roblet-Monnot
  • Rapet Pere & Fils
  • Bonneau du Martray (only Grand Cru!)
  • Edmund Cornu
  • Maison Leroy (variable but good when they are on, requires much research)
  • Domaine Nudant
  • George/Christophe Roumier (Corton-Charlemagne)
  • Faiveley
  • Domaine Rollin
  • Domaine Coche-Dury (Corton-Charlemagne)
  • Vincent Girardin
  • Henri Boillot (Corton-Charlemagne)
  • Maison Champy (Corton-Charlemagne)
  • Dubreuil-Fontaine (Corton-Charlemagne)
  • Marc Colin (Corton-Charlemagne)
  • Joseph Drouhin (Corton-Charlemagne)
  • Genot-Boulanger
  • Patrick Javillier
  • Domaine Leroy
  • Domaine de Montille
  • Morey-Blanc (Corton-Charlemagne)
  • Domaine Pavelot (Corton-Charlemagne)
  • Rapet Pere & Fils
  • Bouchard Pere & Fils (only Le Corton and Corton Charlemagne)
  • Comte Senard
  • Patrick Bize (Corton Charlemagne)
  • Domaine du Pavillon
  • Michel Juilliot
  • Domaine de la Romanee Conti
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