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France_Burgundy_Cote de Nuits

The Cote de Nuits, the northern part of the Cote d'Or is a little slice of heaven in many Burgundy lovers' eyes. It has sacred villages, like Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne Romanee, with names of Grand Cru vineyards that send shivers down people's spines. Le Musigny. Le Chambertin. La Tache. The list goes on.

The heights of quality that Pinot Noir can reach in the Cote d'Or is the stuff legends are made of. Pinot Noir is the name of the game here although some rare whites are also notable. Henri Gouges' grand Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru "La Perriere" made from a mutant white clone of Pinot Noir, is an interesting example.

The name Cote de Nuits takes its names from the village of Nuits, which has thrived, despite always being in the shadow of Dijon up north and Beaune down south. Nuits St. Georges, the appellation, is the only reknowned village that does not have a Grand Cru vineyard. All the names of the famous wine villages in Burgundy, up and down the Cote, are named after the most famous vineyard in the town. Gevrey-Chambertin is really Gevrey addended with Chambertin to make Gevrey-Chambertin. Chambolle-Musigny, Morey St. Denis, Vosne-Romanee all take this cue. Ironically Nuits St. Georges, from the aforementioned Cote de Nuits,  names itself after the legendary 1er Cru vineyard "Les St. Georges" which is universally considered the best vineyard in all of Nuits. 

Each village has its own special story and they will be covered in greater detail. 

The only appellations that have Cote de Nuits in the name are Cote de Nuits Villages and Hautes Cotes de Nuits. 

Cote de Nuits Villages
Cote de Nuits Villages is the higher quality appellation and some of the wines from top producers can be wonderful. Sylvie Esmonin makes a lovely one from vineyards near and surrounding Gevrey-Chambertin. Most of the wines come from the villages of Comblanchien, Prissey and Corgoloin which are too small to have their own appellations but can make interesting wine. So they group all of these wines under the umbrella name of Cote de Nuits Villages. Some Cote de Nuits Villages can be sourced from the northern end of the appellation near Fixin too. These wines in general should be drunk young but some like the aforementioned Sylvie Esmonin or the glorious version from Denis Bachelet can age for up to ten years.  They are usually excellent values ranging in price form $25-$40.

Hautes-Cotes de Nuits 
The Hautes-Cotes de Nuits appellation is one you don't see often and most examples are pretty insipid; follow the tried and true rule of Burgundy and buy on producer and not appellation. The Hautes-Cotes de Nuits lies on the western side of Nuits.
Most of the time, since these vineyards are located amongst flatlands, the wines can have an unripe and weedy character. This is an appellation that the consumer must take note of vintage as the best wines are really only made in the warmest years. Even then, the wines are light, fruity and nice, but nothing memorable. Many are redolent of light cherries and some spice elements. A  small number of these wines can age for the short-term but most of them should be drunk within the first three to five years of their lives. These can be nice values and typically retail between $20-$35.

Notable Recent Vintages for Cote de Nuits Villages: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1996, 1993

Notable Recent Vintages for Hautes-Cotes De Nuits: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1996, 1993

Top Producers for Cote de Nuits Villages include:
  • Denis Bachelet
  • Sylvie Esmonin
  • Daniel Rion
  • Domaine de l'Arlot
  • Dominique Laurent
  • Patrice Rion
  • Domaine Petitot
Top Producers for Hautes-Cotes de Nuits include:
  • David Duband
  • A.F. Gros
  • Michel Gros
  • Jayer-Gilles
  • Meo-Camuzet (rare white Hautes-Cote de Nuits!)
  • Domaine Nudant
  • Herve Murat
For more discussion on these particular villages, click on through.