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Cote d'Or France Burgundy Cote d'Or

Cote d'Or France French Holidays

The Cote d'Or is a well known wine region in France that stretches for 60km going south from Dijon. The 'Golden Hillside' presents a rich palette of browns in the vines, soil and trees along the slopes, the tops of which are wooded while vines line the eastern slopes. The slopes are cut by combes or steep valleys that are popular with rock climbers. The walking trails GR7 and GR76 run along the Cote d'Or all the way to Lyon.

However, it is the wine that is the most important feature of the Cote d'Or. The Cote de Nuits is the northern section stretching from Fixin to Corgolin and produces some full bodied reds, often using the syrah grape. The southern Cote de Beaune runs from Aloxe Corton to Santenay and produces both excellent white and red wines.Name any of the towns along the N74 and an oenophile's eyes will light up. Marsannay la Cote, Fixin, Brochon, Gevrey Chambertin, Vougeot, Nuits St Georges, Vosne Romanée, Pernand Vergelesses, Aloxe Corton, Pommard, Volnay, St Romain, Meursault and Santenay to name but a few are all renowned for producing very high class wines that are often on a par or better with the top Bordeaux wines. Some say that where Bordeaux produces consistently good wines, when Burgundy has a good year it is truly something spectacular.

Whilst the wines these villages produce may be making your mouth water, the villages themselves are sleepy backwaters, prosperous but dull places that revolve around wine and, unless you are a vigneron, perhaps not very exciting. It is highly unlikely that you will ever get your hands on one of these jealously guarded patches of land either, as they are almost never up for sale. Still, if you head to the Cote d'Or in springtime you will beat the crowds and there are plenty of opportunities to try the wine. Look for signs for cave (wine cellar), caveau (smaller version), domaine (wine estate), chateau, and dégustation (tasting) which are all indications that wine is in the vicinity.

At wine caves you may be offered a free tasting (dégustation gratuit) of one or two wines, but if there are more than two wines on offer you can expect to pay between €5 and €10 to try a few wines before you decide which one to buy. The emphasis, remember, is on you buying the wine, and it is very rude not to do so if you spend time tasting them. Wines in this region cost between €15 and €20 on average, so it is certainly not a cheap option. The cheaper wines are from the Hautes Cote de Nuits or Haute Cote de Beaune, but their reputation is less formidable as well. It is a pleasant experience, however, to buy some wine in the place where it was made, so don't be put off by the price if you find something you like.