The Côte Chalonnaise vineyards, with their marked affiliation to Pinot noir and Chardonnay and with their well-identified, small village organisation, align themselves with the suite of the two famous vineyards of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune. Thus following on and having the same plan.
The 44 communes which constitute the vineyard area produce red wine which has the right to the general appellation “Bourgogne” if the wine comes from the Pinot Noir variety. The wine must also meet other conditions including: yield, minimum alcohol level and cultivation methods meeting AOC standards law. Four communes have obtained a special autonomous appellation decree allowing them to add the name of a specific Climat – thus following the established practice found in the Côtes de Beaune and the Côtes de Nuits. These communes are (from north to south) Rully, Mercurey, Givry and Montagny.
The same duality exists for the white wines : “Bourgogne” wines are harvested in the northernmost communes of the region while in both the north and the south, Chardonnay, which is grown throughout Burgundy, gives the great wines such as and those from Meursault and Montrachet. It also produces remarkable wines in the two Côte Chalonnaise villages of Rully and Montagny. The latter is produced from the communes of Buxy and Montagny-les-Buxy which marks the southern limit of production.
The small winding road lined with orchards takes you to Bouzeron (“a small village, a grand wine” is announced on the sign as you arrive). A well-known location for lovers of Aligoté.
After this brief detour, you continue along the main route between Aluze and Mercurey. Along the way you will pass, among others, Chassey-le-Camp, which owes its name to Neolithic culture (the "Chasséens"). Aluze, a small village perched on a hill between Rully and Mercurey, is also worth visiting for its heritage and view, as the kilometres go by the vines flourish.
Whether white or red, the Bourgogne wines of the Côte Chalonnaise are representative of their terroir. Those from the North, produced from limestone soils, are fine with supple tannins, while those from the South are firmer.
We must again abandon the main route between Mercurey and Givry to explore the beautiful valley of Vaux. After that head towards Buxy, homeland of Millebuis.