King Charlemagne was royalty in the 700's and also a wine enthusiast. He actually ordered the planting of many of the regions vines as he noticed favourable conditions such as snow melting early in certain warmer areas. At this time there was only red wine. As he grew older and red wine began to badly stain his white beard, his wife ordered him to plant some white vines. Beaune is now famous for having the greatest whites in the world.
There are several famous names in the whites. Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet produce highly celebrated Chardonnay and share the Grand Cru vineyard of Montrachet. Meursault is a highly popular style for its rich and weighty feel, it does not produce Grand cru wine but like Puligny and Chassagne, has several Premier Cru vineyards. Saint Aubin, Saint Romin and Auxey-Duresses among others offer cooler, more streamlined whites from the windy and exposed mountainous areas. These areas are becoming increasingly known for their lighter, more elegant, almost raspy reds made from Pinot.
Pommard and Volnay are the most famous of the red wine producing regions for their earthy and almost funky at times character. Santenay and Maranges are two appellations of increasing importance as they are providing robust Pinot as a great counter point and real source of value compared to the whoppers in the North.
Cote Chalonnaise is an exciting region to the South of Burgundy that offers actual value and not just Burgundian value (that will eventually change). Whites and reds made in Rully, Montagny, Mercurey and Givry offer huge potential and a great alternative. Givry in particular makes Premier Cru wines at a fraction of thr cost of the rest of The Cote.
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