This Episode's Region

Côtes de Nuits

Côtes de Nuits

Burgundy is perhaps, along with Bordeaux, France’s most famous wine-producing region and Côtes de Nuits is one of its main subregions. As such, it should be no surprise that wine from France’s Côtes de Nuits is among the world’s most coveted. Although a bottle’s label wouldn’t say so, any red wine with Côtes de Nuits on the label is made from Pinot Noir grapes. The Côtes de Nuits makes up the northern tip of Burgundy and some of the allure of the Côtes de Nuits lies in the difficulties of growing Pinot Noir at such northern latitude.

The weather is intensely seasonal and can vary dramatically from year to year, and this presents an enormous threat to an industry that thrives on consistency. For the winemakers of the Côtes de Nuits who manage to triumph over the area’s terrain, the rewards in both quality and profit are well deserved.

The wines of the Côtes de Nuits are generally classified according to their proximity to one of fourteen villages, and in a true expression of terroir, the wines tend to exhibit certain traits and qualities that are characteristic of the specific area within Côtes de Nuits where it was grown.

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Tasting Notes From This Episode

Wine has been produced in Burgundy for 2000 years. Vineyards were in existence in the first half of the first century A.D. For more information on Burgundy wines visit: www.burgundy-wines.fr

The Dukes of Burgundy laid down the first policy for wine-growing and wine-making in history. In 1395, Philip the Bold issued an ordinance that set out the ecological principles for high-quality wine-growing.

Gamay vs. Pinot Noir: Philip the Bold banned Gamay from being planted in Burgundy and ordered existing Gamay vineyards to be torn out, so that the grape would not compete with the “more elegant” Pinot Noir. Happily, Gamay found a new home and today is the primary black grape of the Beaujolais region

In 1693, Louis XIV’s court physician Dr Fagon prescribed “old Burgundy wine” as part of his patient’s regime. Napoleon, who was also following doctor’s orders, only drank wine from Burgundy’s Chambertin appellation.

The phylloxera crisis hit Burgundy in the 1870s and 1880s and most of the vineyards were destroyed by the disease. Local vine stocks were replaced with naturally resistant stocks from the United States and these were then grafted with scions of traditional French grape varieties.