Effectively a southerly continuation of the Cote d’Or, the Cote Chalonnaise commences immediately south of the small town of Chagny at the foot of the Cote de Beaune, and also of the boundary between the administrative departements of the Cote d’Or and the Saone et Loire, and runs as far as the top of the Maconnais region. The limestone slopes take on a more dispersed character here, and the best vineyards, the 1er Crus (there are no Grand Crus in the Chalonnaise) are broadly located on south facing, limestone-rich outcrops. There are five communes or appellations, from north to south commencing with Bouzeron, for which the appellation exists only for the white Aligote grape, of which the finest and most interesting examples in Burgundy can be found here. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are also grown (they may be labelled Bourgogne Blanc or Rouge). The most significant producer is the charming and urbane Aubert de Villaine, co-proprietor of the famous Domaine Romanee-Conti in Vosne-Romanee. Rully lies on the southern flanks of the Montagne de la Folie, a limestone ridge commencing in Bouzeron. There is a relatively high proportion of sandstone in the lower slopes of the commune. The wines may be either Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, and there are several producers of note making outstanding wines in both colours, the reds inclined towards charm and delicacy, while the Chardonnays often carry a distinctive and attractive mineral signature. Mercurey, easily the largest commune in the Chalonnaise is traditionally also considered to be its leading appellation, with a high proportion of excellent producers. It may be both red and white, though the majority is red, often richer in body and colour than other Chalonnaise Pinots. Givry has a number of limestone outcrops, notably the south-facing slopes immediately west of the village. Again, both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are grown. Montagny is the southernmost appellation, though only white wines produced from Chardonnay are entitled to bear the name.
The best Cote Chalonnaise wines in either colour are made in an identical fashion to their brethren in the Cote d’Or, with the wines seeing greater or lesser amounts of new oak. Although there have been price rises in recent years, they still represent some of the best values to be found in all of Burgundy, with a high proportion of intelligent and conscientious producers making some outstanding wines in both colours. As well as a high number of private domaines, the excellent negociant-recoltants Joseph Faiveley and Joseph Drouhin both own significant vineyard holdings here.