Aurelien Verdet Hautes Cotes de Nuits Le Prieure Blanc 2014
In the hills just above the commune appellations of the Côte de Nuits, rising to about 1,600 feet, scattered vineyards join to form what is known as the Hautes Côtes de Nuits.
Hautes Côtes de Nuits together with Hautes Côtes de Beaune include 47 communes. Collectively the wines of the Hautes Côtes offer a great introduction to the personality of Burgundy—both red and white—that won’t make a dent in the pocketbook.
The majority of wines produced here are red (made of Pinot Noir) and show a spry fruitiness, crisp texture and aromas of blackcurrant, cherry, rose, violet, pepper and mint. Red Hautes Côtes are perfect with crostini topped with pork or duck rillettes, soft soft cheeses like Camembert or Brillat-Savarin and dishes such as grilled lamb or roasted quail.
Whites, while less prolific, offer diversity and aside from Chardonnay, this is where one might occasionally run into the very rare Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris, which are completely forbidden among Villages appellations and Crus. Aligoté grows here as well, alongside the blackcurrant bushes used to make cassis for vin blanc cassis (a cocktail of dry white wine mixed with blackcurrant liqueur). Hautes Côtes whites show qualities such as lemon, quince, apple, pear, white peach and honeysuckle; they are great stand-alone sippers or paired with savory tapas, sautéed shrimp and flaky white fish.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.