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Côte de Beaune Rouge
The Cote de Beaune is located in the southern half of the world famous Burgundy region in eastern France. While reds and whites are both produced, it is the white wines which excel to such heights that they have been served at the tables of Kings over the centuries.

All of the fine white wines of Burgundy are made of the Chardonnay grape varietal. From this point, it is simply a matter of becoming familiar with the lay of the land. With the city of Beaune as a starting point, the most famous names are the nearby village of Aloxe-Corton, home to the famous Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne, and the overlapping villages of Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet in the south. Puligny and Chassagne have both appended the Grand Cru vineyard of Montrachet to their names. This has been common practice in Burgundy. When a wine label says “Puligny-Montrachet” and nothing else, it is what the calls a “village” level wine. When the label says “Puligny-Montrachet” on one line, then on the line below another name such as “les Folatieres”appears, this is called a “Premier Cru” wine. If the label simply says “Le Montrachet”, then it is what is called a “Grand Cru” wine. One level below the village level is a multi-district blend which is labeled as “Bourgogne Blanc.”

General price categories match their respective quality levels, but a high price is no guarantee of quality. When shopping for Burgundy, you should pay more attention to the name of the producer than to the price. If you are just starting out, look for top negociants such as Louis Jadot, Olivier Leflaive, or Chartron et Trebuchet. Once you find a negociant whose style you like, experiment within their range. If you notice that one village is of particular interest to you, branch out into this village bottled by a small producer. For example, if you like more than one wine from Oliver Leflaive, and in particular, his Puligny-Montrachet, try the Puligny-Montrachet of a smaller producer such as Domaine Jacques Prieur. If you like this, then try one of the other wines of this Domaine, and so on. Finding a negociant or producer you like is half the battle. Having this little bit of knowledge will give you the confidence to walk right up to the Burgundy section in your wine shop without feeling intimidated. And the same holds true for the wine list at dinner. Experiment a little, and enjoy the good life. Maybe those Kings were on to something after all! (Wine/Appellations)