Côte Chalonnaise is just south of Côte de Beaune, but a million miles away in terms of its recognition as a part of Burgundy. Writer Clive Coates has called Côte Chalonnaise a “well-known forgotten area…While everyone acknowledges that it is worth investigating, few merchants bother to go prospecting.” Part of the recognition problem is that until 1990 there was no Côte Chalonnaise appellation for generic wines. Today there is a Bourgogne-Côte Chalonnaise appellation that covers parts of 44 villages. There are also five villages with AOC status and many Premier Cru vineyards, though no Grand Crus. The villages are Rully, Mercurey, Givry, Montagny and Bouzeron. Bouzeron is noteworthy because its white wines are made from the Aligoté grape rather than Chardonnay. The other villages produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Côte Chalonnaise has about 300 acres of vineyards.
This white variety originated in Burgundy, but is now grown around the world. Its flexibility to thrive in many regions translates to wide flavor profile in the market. Chardonnay is commonly used in making Champagne and sparkling wines.