Hautes Cotes de Nuits (pic: wikipedia)

Hautes Cotes de Nuits (pic: wikipedia)

The new frontier for Bourgogne could lie in the gentle sloped to the West of the esteemed Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.

Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Hautes Côtes de Nuits, the two appellations that are constantly overlooked, could be the future of Bourgogne, amid soaring prices and pressing challenges of climate change, according to Laurent Delaunay, fifth generation owner of Edouard Delaunay and president of BIVB.

Nestled on the slopes to the West of the esteemed Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Hautes Côtes de Nuits have historically played a supporting role, often overshadowed by their more illustrious counterparts. However, these elevated areas, situated at higher altitudes of 300 to 400 meters, have recently captured the attention of winemakers seeking the new frontier of Bourgogne.

One of the firm advocates of Hautes Côtes is Laurent Delaunay. His family home Chateau de Charmont in Nuits St Georges is perched on top of Hautes Côtes de Nuits. “I really believe in the future of the Hautes Côtes. We are living in the Hautes Côtes. My family, our Chateau de Charmont, is located on top of Nuits st Georges,” he says.

Thirty years ago, his family estate used to have 10 hectare of vineyards in Hautes Côtes de Nuits and he confessed back then grapes were very hard to ripen. As a result, the family sold the vineyards. “Now, it has totally changed,” he exclaimed.

The quick turn of fortune in large part is thanks to climate change. As global warming casts its influence over vineyard regions worldwide, winemakers in Burgundy face the challenge of preserving the balance and elegance of their wines amidst changing weather patterns. Hautes Côtes with their higher elevation and cooler climates, offer a promising solution in the battle against rising temperatures.

“With climate change, I think the future of Burgundy may lie in the Hautes Côtes. Where we are located, Chateau de Charmant, we are 4 kilometers west of Clos de Vougeot and 150 meters higher. And there are some beautiful terroirs that simply very often have not been explored so far,” he says.

Apart from their climate resilience, Hautes Côtes’ rise is also attributed to their relatively affordable prices compared to their pricier neighbors. While top-tier wines from renowned appellations can come with hefty price tags, Hautes Côtes provides an accessible and budget-friendly alternative.

His estate Edouard Delaunay has already formed partnerships with local farmers and is looking to purchase vineyards in the appellation. “So it’s really a strategic direction for Edouard Delaunay to become the specialist of the Haute Cote des Nuits,” he says.

The winery’s first selection of vines from Haute Côtes went into the creation of its “Les Rouards”, one of the climats with the best exposure and one of the most representative of the Hautes Côtes de Nuits.

The Pinot Noir grapes come from an exceptional plot located near the charming village of Villars-Fontaine planted at an altitude of 350 meters with east-southeastern exposure, overlooking the Vosne-Romanée Grand Crus. Grown on limestone and white marls dating back to the Jurassic period, the grapes benefiting from higher elevation and cooler winds ripen slowly and evenly, lending them fresh acidity and concentrated aromas.

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