The Côte d’Or literally means the “slope of gold” and to Burgundy collectors it is sacred ground. It is home to most fabled Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards in the world, as well as historic domaines that trace their traditions back hundreds of years. The 30-mile long ridge stretches from just south of Dijon on the north to a little past Santenay in the south. At its widest, the Côte d’Or is a mere 1.5 miles across and sometimes it is merely a few hundred yards across. During several geological periods shifting sea beds left calcium-rich shellfish deposits on the ridge, creating unique, rocky soils that have become excellent vineyards. The Côte d’Or is further divided into a north and south. The Côte de Nuits is more or less the northern half, and is most famous for its Pinot Noir, while the Côte d’Beaune is the southern half, and is especially noted for its Chardonnay.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.