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Vineyards in Cotes d'Auxerre, Burgundy, France against a vast, blue sky.
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Cote d’Auxerre

In the far north of Burgundy lies the city of Auxerre. In the surrounding environs are seven communes which produce wines under the Cote d’Auxerre title. All three colors of red, white and rosé wines are produced here, with around 240 hectares of Chardonnay vines, and roughly half that of Pinot Noir vines. This region is some 80 miles from the ‘capital’ of Burgundy, the city of Beaune, and is nearest to the region of Chablis. The appellation covers the following communes: Augy, Saint-Bris, Auxerre, Vaux, Champs-sur-Yonne, Quenne and Vincelottes. Here the soils are rich in limestone, and the white wines in particular have the continental climate to thank for their steely, fresh personality. The wines here are of ancient lineage, thanks in part to their proximity to France’s capital Paris, and also the ancient abbey of Saint-Germain. The vineyards here lie either side of the river Yonne, and have their own distinct personalities, which are well worth seeking out.

White Wines

These are very likeable wines and delight every sense. They appear golden and gleaming, occasionally with green highlights. On the nose they give white flowers, hazelnuts and almonds, and when tasted they deliver power but also minerality and elegance. As they develop they bring dried fruits, and richly aromatic underbrush. These wines demand dishes that are delicate, so try fish pie, roast eggplant or even veal dumplings. Light creamy cheeses or those with herbs would suit these wines perfectly.

Red Wines

Pouring a glass of a Cote d’Auxerre red wine is like filling your glass with rubies—intense, deep reds, which also give off raspberry and cherry aromas, with a good amount of minerality. In the mouth they are fascinatingly complex; you get the same red and black fruits but underpinned with liquorice, and all of it supple and silky and perfectly well-rounded. For such smooth wines, choose dishes like chicken, duck or rabbit. As they’re so aromatic, you could also try them with calf’s liver for a truly unctuous combination.

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