To the south of the Côte de Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise and the Couchois produce ruby red wines and delicate whites. In this land of contrasting landscapes, you will discover some renowned appellations made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or Aligoté.
The Côte Chalonnaise is thought to be the geographical cradle of Crémant de Bourgogne.
In 1822, the négociants of Chalon-sur-Saône, who owned vines in Rully and Mercurey, invited a young man from the Champagne region to their estates, and sparkling white Bourgogne wine was born. Other proprietors in Nuits-Saint-Georges jumped on the bandwagon and throughout the 19th century and into the 20th, this production evolved and grew, until the wine was awarded its AOC in 1975.
Between the Côte de Beaune to the north and the hills of the Mâconnais to the south, the Côte Chalonnaise is some 25km long by 7km wide. Here, in the heart of a landscape spiked with hills, the plots of vines have been planted on the best southeast-facing slopes. For a thousand years, the vines have plunged their roots into soil similar to those of the nearby Côte de Beaune. Enjoying hot summers and dry weather in the fall, the grapes have no problem ripening here.
A little farther to the west, on the other side of the Canal du Centre, is the Couchois. To the south of the Hautes Côtes de Beaune, this winegrowing terroir is nestled at between 200-300m above sea level. Here, six communes produce wines of character, the quality of which has been recognized since 2000 when it was awarded the AOC Bourgogne Côte du Couchois.
In this land, winemakers grow several different varietals, although Chardonnay and Pinot Noir dominate. Exceptionally, the hamlet of Bouzeron gives pride of place to the Aligoté grape, as home to the only appellation Village that is entirely produced from this ancient varietal.
As in the rest of the Bourgogne winegrowing region, the Côte Chalonnaise and the Couchois also offer a range of different appellations Régionales: Bourgogne white and red, Bourgogne Aligoté, Bourgogne Passe-tout-grains and Coteaux Bourguignons.