– If well-made, Chorey-lès-Beaune is easy to sell, says Sébastien Gay at Domaine Michel Gay in Chorey-lès-Beaune. In a Chorey-lès-Beaune you don’t have the volume of an Aloxe-Corton or the elegance of a Volnay. But it has a good price/quality ratio. It’s a good entry level Burgundy.
– It is not too expensive, but still very good, says Pascal Maillard at Domaine Maillard in Chorey-lès-Beaune. It is a wine you can play with. For the new consumer it is a good introduction the Burgundian wines. It is a good place to start. It is easier to experiment on the village level; you have a little more freedom. With grand or premier crus you have to respect the terroir.
Chorey-lès-Beaune is immediately north of Beaune, just a five-minute drive away, bordering on Savigny-lès-Beaune, Aloxe Corton and Ladoix-Serrigny. The village dates back to the 7th century when it was called Hauriaco. Over the centuries the name then changed from Cariacum, via Cherriacum, Charrère, Charrey, and Cherriey, to Chorrey (with two ‘r’s) in 1437.
The Chorey-lès-Beaune appellation covers 134 hectares, which is roughly one third of Meursault in size. The Corton hill is close, but the Chorey-lès-Beaune vineyards are flat.
When Dr Lavalle published his famous ”Histoire et Statistique de la Vigne et des Grands Vins de la Côte d’Or” in 1855 he did not mention Chorey-lès-Beaune. 24 years prior to that Denis Morelot did briefly mention Chorey-lès-Beaune in his ”La Vigne et le Vin en Côte d’Or”, but only as a very good place for passetoutgrain.
Danguy and Aubertin were more generous and devoted a whole chapter to the village in their ”Les Grands Vins de Bourgogne” from 1892. They listed Les Crais, La Rochelle, Les Beaumonts, Les Closeaux, Le Poirier Mal Chaussé, Les Corvées, Derrière le Château, Les Champs Longs, Les Sausses Soitots and Les Moutots as the climats for vines in Chorey-lès-Beaune. Today slightly more than half of these are village appellation. The rest are either classed as regional appellation or no longer in use.
– Les Beaumonts is generally considered as one of the best climats in Chorey-lès-Beaune, says Michel Martin at Domaine Chantal & Michel Martin in Chorey-lès-Beaune. But there are also certain parts of Bons Ores and Grand Saucy which are equally good.
Up until late 18th century Les Beaumonts was part of the Beaune vignoble. Today, the 41 hectares of Les Beaumonts, together with the considerably smaller Les Ratosses, are Chorey-lès-Beaune’s only vineyards west of the Beaune-Dijon road.
In 1875 Charles Bigarne wrote the following about Les Beaumonts in his ”Histoire de Chorey et de ses Seigneurs”: ”This place dates back to Antiquity. The road on the northern side is an old Roman road. Roof tiles and medals are often found here. It is possible that this was the place for a Gallo-Roman sacellum, a small shrine: Beaulmont would then be the Mont de Bel (Mount of Belenus)”.
– Les Beaumonts is more concentrated and structured, says Sébastien Gay at Domaine Michel Gay. If you look at the climats, Confrelin is more fresh and delicate with more finesse. Les Champs Longs is like a mini Aloxe-Corton, with more structure. Les Pertuisotes and La Maladérotte have the body, but not necessarily the finesse. But compared with Aloxe-Corton the Chorey-lès-Beaune vineyards are more homogenous.
There is also the monopole of Pièce du Chapitre right next to les Champs Longs, owned by Domaine Tollot-Beaut. The vines were planted around 1950 and it covers 1.46 ha.
– We have been making Pièce du Chapitre since the 2001 vintage, explains Nathalie Tollot at Domaine Tollot-Beaut. It is a parcel that we inherited. Since it is a good lieu-dit in Chorey we vinify it on its own, it deserves to be separated from our other parcels.
It was not until 1970 Chorey-les-Beaune was granted an appellation of its own. Up until then the wines had been marketed as Côte de Beaune-Villages. This is still a choice for the growers. They can choose whether they want to put Chorey-les-Beaune or Côte de Beaune-Villages on the label. Today it is usually the negociant wines from Chorey-les-Beaune that are bottled as Côte de Beaune-Villages.
There are some 20 winegrowers in the village. In addition to this there is a large number of growers outside the village bottling Chorey-les-Beaune.
Chorey-lès-Beaune is mainly is pinot noir. Chardonnay only accounts for a mere seven hectares, but it is slowly increasing. There is a handful producers offering Chorey-les-Beaune blanc. In the village you have Domaine Georges Roy, Domaine Jean-Luc Dubois, Domaine Maillard and Domaine Michel Gay. Outside the village there is Domaine Besancenot in Beaune, Domaine Chapuis in Aloxe-Corton, Domaine des Terregelesses in Beaune and Domaine Joël Remy in Sainte-Marie-La-Blanche. The latter
– The best places in Chorey-lès-Beaune for chardonnay are Confrelin, Les Crais, Aux Clous, part of La Maladérotte and Les Champs Longs. Mainly where you’ll find alluvial soil. It would be less interesting to plant chardonnay in Les Beaumonts for example, says Sébastien Gay.
One of the more well-known domaines in the Chorey-les-Beaune, Domaine du Château de Chorey, came to a halt. The 17 hectares of vines were taken on by Maison Louis Jadot in Beaune and, to some extent, Domaine Mikulski in Meursault. The moat and the towers around the chateau are from the 13th century, while the main building is from the 17th century. Wine production has stopped, but they are still running the chambres d'hôtes part.
© 2013 Ola Bergman