France: Burgundy's Cote d'Or
What are the Great Wines of the Cote dOr?
The Cote dOr translates to English as the golden slope, in reference to the areas worldwide renown for producing some of the finest wines in the world. Chardonnay and the fickle Pinot Noir are the grapes of choice in this tiny slice of Burgundy where climate and soil have come together so uniquely to make for (on occasion) brilliant wines. White Burgundy from the Cote dOr is revered for its firmness of structure, clarity of flavor, and purity of expression, while the red is all finessecomplex and ephemeral aromas with a seamless and velvety impression in the mouth. Romance aside, there is also a lot of bad Burgundy that trades shamelessly at high prices on the reputation of the region as a whole. Further, Burgundy is prone to very difficult vintages, where only two in ten will yield the sought after results. These conditions, in combination with minute quantities and extravagant prices have led many to term Burgundy, quite rightly, a minefield. It is all too common to spend a great deal of money and not be satisfied with the results. A conscientious producer in Burgundy means everything. Pay careful attention to the best producers for they will produce better wine in "off" years than many of their peers will in the next "vintage of the century." You are guaranteed to be poorer for the experience, but at least you will probably not have your efforts rewarded with a thin and insipid, often undrinkable wine. Beyond this maxim, Burgundy is a hugely complex subject that can take a lifetime to come to grips with. Perhaps in no other region of the world is such a list so sorely needed, as is the guidance it will bring. Tread forth into the minefield at your own risk. Was it Caveat Emptor who was one of the first Dukes of the medieval kingdom of Burgundy?
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