Near the small town of Beaune, in the rolling countryside of the Burgundy wine-producing region of east-central France, wine-makers produce wines that are known around the world.
The winemaking region of the Côte de Beaune appellations is about 12 miles long, from north to south. Facing the sun in the morning, the wine lands do not exceed a couple hundred feet in width. Despite the relatively small size of the wineries, red and white wines of international reputation are produced here.
A little bit to the west, behind the Côte de Beaune region, the vines open up on a plateau of slightly curvy hills at about 1,300 feet of altitude. We have now arrived in the Haute Côte de Beaune wine region. On these sunny slopes, about twenty villages produce these lively and spontaneous wines. The climate of the area is temperate and slightly continental.
In the area around Beaune, the wine lands are primarily planted with Pinot Noir, although Chardonnay grapes produce a few marvelous wines on a hill called Corton. A bit farther away, near Meursault, Chardonnay becomes predominate and produces wines with a large diversity of flavors, including near mythical appellations (Bâtard-Montrachet, for example), to smaller treasures like Saint-Aubin and Santenay. From both of these grape varieties typical of the Burgundy wine region, many famous appellations are produced.
The red Côte de Beaune wines have a ruby color, with a subtle nuance of mauve. They have flavors of red fruits (strawberry and cherry in particular) and spices. Recommended food pairings for these wines include roast pork, beef or veal, as their forceful flavors are a perfect match for this wine. Recommended cheese pairings include munster, soumaintrain, and chaource.
The Chardonnays possess undertones of white flowers, citrus, honey, and gingerbread and would be a perfect match for poultry with white sauce, pasta, seafood risotto, and steamed or poached fish. The perfect cheese to combine with these wines would be comté, beaufort, gruyere, or any type of goat cheese.