Style – graceful, fruit driven, underrated, smooth
The town of Beaune is the heart of the Côte d’Or, and the hub of the Burgundy wine trade. The appellation contrôlée dates back to 1936 and it is where most of the traditional négociant houses are based (Bouchard, Chanson, Latour, Drouhin). Indeed much of the production is made by these houses. Red wine dominates, but whites are also produced (10% of total production) on the soils most suited to Chardonnay. Reds from here are often a bit lighter in style but have an intense colour and lots of (black and red) fruit. The best vineyards lie on the slopes above the town itself (Grèves, Cras) and these tend to be the most tannic and ageworthy. On the Pommard side, vines are flatter and resulting wines are often lighter. However, Clos des Mouches, owned by Drouhin, is located here and this is the most sought after white wine from Beaune.
On the northern side towards Savigny, there is a high proportion of sand in the soil so wines are also lighter. The Beaune vineyards are amongst the most extensive in the Côte de Beaune and there are a massive 337 hectares of premier cru vineyards, (75% of the total) to 138 hectares of village Beaune and 66 hectares of the generic Côte de Beaune. It has been relatively unfashionable and so can offer great value for money. Added to this, the abundance of premier crus vineyards means prices are often quite reasonable at this level. The town takes centre stage on the third Sunday each November for the famous Hospices de Beaune auction, that takes place in the Hôtel Dieu.