The village of Aloxe-Corton
(pronounced “Alosse”) was mentioned as far back as 696 and is the
natural geological link between the regions of Côte de Nuits and Côte de
Beaune. It is dominated by the great Corton Hill. The AOCs of Ladoix-Serrigny
and Pernand-Vergelesses share the hill alongside Aloxe-Corton, with some
overlap in classification.
This is a region wreathed in
history and legend, which serves to intensify its mystical appeal. The Corton
Red and Corton Charlemagne White are named after two emperors – Curtis d’Othon
and the more famous Charlemagne. These vineyards were a gift of the Emperor
Charlemagne to the religious community of Saint-Andoche at Saulieu in the year
775 (with Chardonnay supposedly chosen to avoid any unfortunate beard-staining).
Most of the wine produced in
Aloxe-Corton, however, is red which comes from around 115 hectares (276 acres)
of land, with a third designated as Premier Cru. The 1.7 hectares given over to
white wine produces excellent and renowned Chardonnay, though at a volume of
less than 12,000 bottles this is a rare treat for most.
With an AOC dating back to
1938, the total production per year stands at around 500,000 bottles. With
eight Premier Crus and dozens of single-vineyard village appellations, many of
the best wines come from smaller producers. Elden
Selections is proud to represent
Aloxe-Corton wines from both the Maison Capitain-Gagnerot and the Domaine Jean-Jacques Girard.
On the Corton Hill, the soil
flavor profile subtly changes as you climb the slope. The top, where many say
the best wines come from, is a unique microclimate with lower than average
temperatures, differing wind patterns, and greater sun exposure. Ranging from
12% to 13.5% ABV depending on Premier or Grand Crus classification, these wines
are the creme de la creme of the
The soil in Aloxe-Corton is
characterised by its reddish-brown hue, rich with limestone debris (known as chaillots) and flint. You can also find
higher levels of potassium and phosphoric acid here. There is a predominant
sense of minerality in these reds. Descriptives like ‘tender’ and ‘fruity’ are
used for the reds from the north end of the hill, while on the Beaune side to
the south you are more likely to hear ‘muscular’ or ‘firm’. These wines,
of great power and complexity, are capable of aging fifteen years or more in
the cellar, but often have a full fruit charm in their youth.
Young Corton-Charlemagne is
pale gold with green highlights; with age it attains yellow or amber hues. The
bouquet can be extremely delicate, with overtones of apple and citrus, and a
unique minerality in youth, with spiciness coming with a few years in the
bottle. Honey notes come with age, with older vintages showing leather and
truffle. A good Corton-Charlemagne is a demonstration of what the Chardonnay
grape is capable of: richness, power, concentration, finesse and balance. These
are Grands Crus to rival the greatest wines in Chassagne and Puligny.
The wines here match the
variety and vitality of the roof tiles of the chateau in Aloxe-Corton. These
glazed tiles, with their bright yellow, red and green patterns of interwoven
diamonds, suggest the red and golden hillsides of the Burgundian vineyards in
The 2018 vintage was particularly kind to Aloxe-Corton. Sometimes thought of as a ‘masculin’ wine with leathery even animal notes, the wines of Aloxe-Corton rode out the heatwave that characterised 2018 and produced glorious ripeness and excellent phenolics. With this trend in warmer years seemingly set to continue, producers in Aloxe-Corton and on the Corton Mountain look set to produce many more great vintages.
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