I almost dont want to post this, because I don’t want to draw any more attention to it than necessary, but I am in love with so much of what is happening in the Hautes Cotes lately. Chantereves, Charles Lachaux, Domaine Dandelion, Chambers just introduced me to Domaine Cassiopee… these wines are still relatively affordable as far as Burgundy goes (although I’m glad I didn’t know secondary pricing for me Lachaux before I opened it! LOL), and they are bursting with vibrancy and energy.
I am looking for more wines like these! anyone else have favorites in this area than strike a similar tone? for most of these producers I love both their reds and their Aligotes. I would also encourage anyone who hasn’t branched out to the Hautes Cotes yet to try some wines from there! this is one of the areas that is benefitting from climate change (when there isnt hail or frost at least), because I think gone are the days when these areas didnt ripen grapes.
So I don’t know how they compare to the producers that you’ve listed, but I really like the Michel Gros HCdN that I’ve tried. He bottles 3 different reds and 1 white (Chardonnay). Usually available from Ansonia Wines.
Apt post. For me, the most exciting wine regions right now are non-Cote d’Or, non-Chablis Burgundy appellations. So much exciting stuff going in the Hautes Cotes, Macon, Cote Chalonaise, etc. And the pricing is still completely reasonable. I’m trying to explore as much as I can.
I admit to feeling complete out of my element in the Cote Chalonaise and Macon. the only terroirs I really have any familiarity with are those that Villaine and Lafon make… and even those I dont really know anything other than Villaine and Lafon make them.
I’ve only had Thiriet’s whites, but they are certainly worth seeking out; Antoine Lienhardt is another serious winemaker in this space. Both are already climbing in price. Meo Camuzet Clos St. Philibert, also a white, is quite ageworthy; the '13 drank nicely last year.
I think we’re conflating Hautes-Côtes and Côte de Nuits-Villages here! Lachaux and Lienhardt, for example, have never made a wine from the Hautes-Côtes to my knowledge.
Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits and Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune derive from what used to be called the “arrière côte”—‘the slope to the rear’—so called because you have to go over the escarpment of the Côte d’Or, through a valley and up again to reach the key vineyards. They’re cooler and later ripening, and back in the day the villagers here would harvest grapes for landowners on the Côte d’Or before going back home to harvest their fruit from their own smallholdings. In the modern era, growers were authorized to plant at lower density and trellis the vines high, but some stuck with high densities and low pruning as on the Côte d’Or, so you have quite a variety of different viticultural approaches. Just in terms of altitude and situation, there’s one communal appellation of the Côte d’Or that is probably better understood as part of the Hautes-Côtes: Saint-Romain. Due to their later ripening and often thin soils, these AOCs typically deliver less in the way of texture and plenitude than the wines of the Côte d’Or, but there are more than a few exceptions to that. For me, Boris Champy, Aurélien Verdet and Parigot are among the reference points, and it will be exciting to follow Cathiard’s wines form here. There are also an increasing number of “natural” producers making wine here, or purchasing fruit from here (the cost of entry remains reasonable for now).
In addition to what might be called the “true” Hautes-Côtes, there are some vineyards that touch the communal appellations of the Côte d’Or but which fell outside of the communal AOCs when the boundaries were drawn and therefore got classified as Hautes-Côtes. Thomas Bouley’s Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune is an example. Didier Fornerol’s Hautes-Côtes de Nuits is another.
But the Côtes de Nuits-Villages AOC is quite distinct. It’s an appellation shared between a number of villages (hence the plural “Villages” in the name of the AOC) that didn’t have the name recognition or the desire to win individual AOCs back when the classification was drawn up. But their terroirs sit on the same limestone escarpment, at the same altitude and with the same exposition, as the rest of the Côte d’Or’s appellations. Côtes de Nuits-Villages is Corgoloin, Comblanchien and Prémeaux (essentially the southern continuation of Nuits-Saint-Georges) plus Brochon and Fixin (essentially the northerly continuation of Gevrey-Chambertin). To complicate things, Fixin also has it’s own communal and premier cru AOCs, and Brochon’s best vineyards are classified as Gevrey-Chambertin; so CdN-Villages vines in Fixin and Brochon do not occupy such prime sites as those in Corgoloin, Comblanchien and Prémeaux. There are some really good producers in this AOC, and a lot of their names have come up in this thread!
If you have a car, or a racing bike with decent gears, it’s a very pretty region to visit. Very little traffic, small villages. I have never visited an estate there though it’s on my list.
Here is a picture from last year riding towards Arcenant, which you can see on the far right. It’s a region that’s hillier than the cote d’or, which is somewhere at the back but not visible as much lower than Arcenant.
as always, thank you so much for the thoughts, William! I will admit I definitely confused the two regions… but I also kind of get similar feelings from the wines from these places sometimes. but that could definitely be just the producers that I’ve tried from the two regions. I am definitely gonna have to check some of those suggestions out. I feel like I have seen you talk about Fornerols HCdN in previous threads before… is that correct?
Founerol is a benchmark for sure. Camille Thiriet has already been mentioned, and rightly so. Jérome Galeyrand is also very interesting, his Retraits bottling is terrific. All three are working with quite a bit of whole bunch. For a destemmed, somewhat richer, oakier style that’s very well done, look at Domaine Gérard Julien.
I think the problem with both AOCs, and it’s one thing they do have in common, is that as soon as any producer has any other grander appellations, these wines get served first as part of the warm up act. Galeyrand for example does things differently and presents his Retraits after his Gevrey and Fixin wines, but in most places the AOC hierarchy tends to assert itself. Yet as far as I am able to ascertain, there is no fundamental or immediate change in the terroir when you exit the Clos de la Maréchal in NSG 1er cru and immediately enter Côte de Nuits-Villages… (Mugnier makes a CdN-V, btw, for internal consumption, and he let me try it from barrel once—terrific wine!)