“Bourgogne Côte d’Or”

A brand new premium regional Burgundy

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com 

25 November 2017

Much of this text was published in Wine Business International yesterday, Friday November 24.

I recall hearing about a new level of regional Bourgogne wine, already a few years back at a press conference held in Beaune. It was supposed to represent the best of regional Burgundy, with grapes used only from Côte d’Or vineyards. It seemed to be taking a long while to get French appellation authority approval, but here is it.

The Bourgogne Wine Council announced this month a new premium level Burgundy regional wine made from only Pinot Noir or Chardonnay grown in Côte d’Or vineyards.

As the 14th regional Bourgogne AOC, Bourgogne Côte d’Or represents the top end of the regional appellations, explained Pierre Gernelle, general manager of the union of Burgundy negociant houses and producers.

“As we see Burgundy regional appellation wines getting more attention in the marketplace, we want to provide a better promise of terroir, because we are in Burgundy,” he explained. Check out my video interview with Pierre below.

In addition to the requirement that only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is used from villages stretching across the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, Bourgogne Côte d’Or will have stricter plantation density requirements, set at a minimum of 9,000 plants per hectare, compared to a minimum of 5,000 plants per hectare for the other Bourgogne regional appellations. Production potential is estimated at 1,000 hectares, with about two-thirds red and one-third white.

Consumers will benefit from a more specific teroir-driven Bourgogne, explained Alberic Bichot of of Maison Albert Bichot. “If you have a Bourgogne that is near Pommard, that will be better than one that comes from Macon,” he explained.

Here a nifty new age style video that highlights the terroir of the Côte d’Or:

Producers could include grapes from younger vines that would not necessarily be used in village level wines, said Sylvain Dussort, who was pouring his first ever Bourgogne Côte d’Or for media at the Palais de Congrès in Beaune, just two days before the Hospices de Beaune auction.

Louis Fabrice Latour of Domaine Louis Latour said that on a general level the appellation probably would cost “about 20 per cent more” than the other 13 Bourgogne regional wines, with a price point placed somewhere between regional and village-level wines.

Merchants attending the Hospices de Beaune auction seemed intrigued by the initiative I not entirely convinced.

Sylvain Dussort, pouring his first ever Bourgogne Côte d’Or 2017

“It would provide a certain cache, although I am not sure everyone would understand that Bourgogne Cote d’Or would work at that price level,” said Xenia Irwin MW, of Waitrose. “It really depends on pricing and how they can define the quality level,” she added.

Meanwhile, Frédéric Henry of the Beaune based wine retailer Mes Bourgognes said that the initiative seems to be more glitz than substance. “It has a pretty name,” he said, “but it may just amount to being a higher priced regional appellation.”Henry suggested adding specific village information on back labels to indicate the provenance of the grapes used for consumers.

But Irwin countered that that could be interpreted by consumers as “declassified” village wine.

The one on the left, does indicate “Pinot Noir” on the front label …

Latour said that he would not put any such information on his back labels because village level wines cannot be associated with regional.

Accompanied by US wine merchants, who agreed with her, Bourgogne negociant Jeanne-Marie de Champs said that it would be useful if front labels indicate the grape Pinot Noir, so as to be clear that there would not be any Gamay in the blend.

Several negociants said that the new wine would sell well in France, as a recognizable name, but also in markets from the US to Japan.

The BIVB is planning press tours in France to promote the new wine in September and October next year, with media events outside of France in 2019, said the BIVB’s Cécile Mathiaud.

 

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