Bourgogne, a treasure trove of incredible wines !

A treasure trove of incredible wines

The Hautes Côte appellation in Bourgogne is a region that is often overlooked and disregarded in favour of the more well-known villages in the area. However, it is a treasure trove of incredible wines, especially when the grapes make their way into the hands of a skilled winemaker, like Arnaud DUBREUIL from Domaine Philippe et Arnaud DUBREUIL.

I want to investigate this little corner of a Bourgogne appellation more in-depth this month, including its location, soils, grapes, production and explain why it should be a priority for importers who are focused on Bourgogne.

The Bourgogne appellation

The Bourgogne appellation is found in the northern part of the region, on the slopes of the Cote d’Or. The term « high slope » refers to the area’s steep terrain. This appellation was officially recognized in 1961 and encompasses 16 municipalities in the Department of Cote d’Or. The line that separates the Cotes de Nuits from Beaune’s high slopes runs through Magny-les-Villers which is home to La Karrière, a contemporary art park in the middle of the region. The Hautes Côte is beautifully represented by its abandoned limestone quarries, which have been transformed into murals that show humanity’s connection and influence of nature.

Let’s call it a metaphor for the relationship between winegrowers (the artists) and the earth.

At between 280 and 450 meters above sea level, the vineyards sit on the best exposed sides of the valley which run east-west. The subsoils are dominated by beds of marl. Marl is a type of sedimentary rock that is rich in minerals and clay. This combination provides the vines with excellent drainage and plenty of nutrients.

The soils of the Hautes Côtes appellation are a mix of limestone, clay and marl. This combination provides excellent drainage and helps to preserve the natural acidity of the grapes. The most widely planted grape in the Haute-Côte is Pinot Noir, which makes some of the most interesting red wines and rosés coming out of the region today. Whites are made from Chardonnay. However, we do occasionally find Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris in the Haute cotes de Nuit. Vines are trained higher than what we see in traditional guyot style throughout the region.

The potential of Hautes Côte and other village names, such as Saint Roman, is increasingly being discussed because the climate crisis has resulted in altered climatic patterns in the Côte d’Or. After traveling throughout the region and tasting the wines firsthand, I’m more committed than ever to my concept.

Winemakers who have fewer restrictions

Winemakers who have fewer restrictions can more easily adjust with each vintage as necessary to produce the best wines possible, given what the earth provided that year. Arnaud explains how each plot not only has its own unique flavor profile when made into wine, but also how the earth itself interacts with his vines.Every day, he and his full-time employee, Guillaume, take care of the plots. They determine how to deal with the season’s mood using respect, compassion, and attention.“Like raising children with different personalities, » he says, « you adapt. They teach you as much as you teach them. »

« We are guiding it, but we are never forcing the wines to be something they aren’t, » he adds.
This is precisely why the wines from Domaine Philippe et Arnaud DUBREUIL have such vitality and improve with age. Arnaud Dubreuil is one of the most talented and up and coming winemakers in Bourgogne today. His wines are some of the best examples of what the Hautes Côtes can offer.

I’m thrilled to be able to share these with my partners as part of my book this year. To learn more about the other wines from Domaine Phillippe et Arnaud DUBREUIL, please read my previous article about Savigny-les-Beaune.


Perfect for value-minded consumers

In closing, the wines of the Hautes Côtes are some of the best values in Bourgogne. They offer great quality at a fraction of the price of village and premier cru wines. These wines are perfect for value-minded consumers who are looking for Bourgogne that delivers on quality.

Here are some tips for selling these wines:

-Educate your staff on the Hautes Côtes appellation and its wines. This will help them sell the wines with confidence.
-Focus on the quality of the wines. These are some of the best values in Bourgogne.
-Talk about the unique terroir of the region and how it affects the wines especially in relation to climate change.

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