The Côte de Nuits Villages appellation offers lovely wines – but it is rather confusingly a mix of villages where some are fully, and some only partly, a “part” of the appellation.
While this has worked for decades, a more logical organisation would perhaps strengthen the marketing point of the wines included in the appellation (more about this later).
The current Côte de Nuits Villages
Côte de Nuits Villages encompasses more or less everything that remained after the other appellations were created. This means that it is divided in two – and its parts are separated by the big appellations of Nuits-Saint-Georges, Vosne-Romanée, Flagey-Echezeaux, Vougeot, Chambolle, Morey and Gevrey.
The two sections are:
So far so good. There is, however, some confusion in some of the appellations, meaning that not all vineyards in a commune use the Côte de Nuits Village name, but can choose other appellations for some of the vineyards.
In reality, it’s only a few vineyards in Fixin, Brochon and Premeaux-Prissey that use the Côte de Nuits-Villages on the label – as other options are available.
But let’s take a closer look at each commune and its appellations.
The commune of Fixin
In Fixin, growers have the opportunity to choose between Fixin and Côte de Nuits Villages on the village level. In reality this means that all village wines use the more precise appellation Fixin – and all 1er crus use Fixin.
In principle, growers in Fixin could choose to use Côte de Nuits Village, but this is rarely, if ever, seen.
The map of Fixin is below …
The commune of Brochon
Brochon is somewhat more complex, as the commune is divided in two – a Gevrey-Chambertin part that can use that town’s label and classification for its village wines (there are not – yet – any 1ers crus in the Brochon part of Gevrey).
The other part – the northern end of Brochon – is allowed to use the Côte de Nuits Village appellation, and wines are actually produced there with this label. Domaine Bachelet for instance is producing a delightful Côte de Nuits Villages from Brochon vineyards.
A special case here is the Queue de Hareng, a Brochon 1er cru that is sold under the Fixin label as part of Fixin Clos de la Perriére. So in reality Brochon has a 1er cru … yet it’s sold as Fixin. Please note there is also a village part of Queue de Hareng that is sold under the Côte de Nuits Village label!
The map below shows the different vineyards in the Brochon commune . And it is clear that no vineyard able to use the Gevrey-Chambertin appellation would instead use the Côte de Nuits Villages label.
The terroirs of Premeaux-Prissey
The main part of Premeaux-Prissey is part of the Nuits-Saint-Georges appellation, and only two vineyards in Premeaux are using the Côte de Nuits Villages label. The rest are an integrated part of Nuits-Saint-Georges – and this covers both village and 1er cru.
The two Côte de Nuits Villages in Premeaux are:
- Les Vignottes
- Au Leurey
Both these vineyards are located below the main road, across from Clos de la Marechale.
The commune of Comblanchien
Comblanchien is easy to understand, as all village vineyards in this area are sold as Côte de Nuits Villages. This is simple and, if not for the rest of the appellation, also logical. That said, in my view a Comblanchien appellation would be more precise, as would also having Premeaux-Prissey in a separate appellation, rather than included in Nuits-Saint-Georges.
The commune of Corgoloin
Corgoloin is equally simple: All village vineyards in this area are sold as Côte de Nuits Villages. But continuing my argument, a separate Corgoloin appellation would be more precise.
Summing up the Côte de Nuits Villages appellation
The Côte de Nuits Villages appellation is complex and rather unclear – and would benefit from simplification. This is, however, complex, as regional and local interests can be very strong and resistant to change. So suggesting such a change from Denmark is at once safe … and easy.
In my view, the Brochon appellation should be called Brochon (the part that is not Gevrey). This would be simpler, clearer, and logical. Fixin is in practice not part of Côte de Nuits Villages.
Alternatively, one could divide Brochon between Gevrey and Fixin … presumably Gevrey is more attractive.
In the south, even without attempting to move Premeaux from Nuits-Saint-Georges, it would be a great idea to have Corgoloin and Comblanchien named after the two villages, i.e. consistent with the other villages such as Ladoix-Serrigny to the south.
To clear up the borders, one could move the two Côte de Nuits Villages vineyards from Premeaux-Prissey to the Comblanchien commune, hence eliminating any confusion.
This would clear up communication, and give Côte de Nuits Villages a well-deserved platform from which to market its wines – and there are many fine wines to promote from these areas.