Chorey-les-Beaune is a wine appellation sharing a name with the eponymous commune, in which all of the appellation's wine is produced. The commune's small 2.16-square-mile area yields only 330 acres of vineyards, amounting to less than 6,000 cases of wine each year labeled as either Chorey-les-Beaune or Chorey.
As with many of the less well-known village appellations of the Côte de Beaune, Chorey-les-Beaune makes almost all red wine. Affordable prices do not necessarily go hand in hand with unsophisticated offerings; indeed, the occasional Chorey-les-Beaune Pinot Noir can be wonderfully elegant and have great finesse--a poor man's Burgundy with some characteristics of expensive wine.
As with many of the second-wave AOCs, the Chorey-les-Beaune appellation was recognized in 1970. Until then, generic or village labels had been used for all the wine produced in this small village. Since then, of course, the AOC has gained in popularity and a number of good examples now are commonly available on the wine market. Even in modern day, however, few people know of the appellation, and this is what makes Chorey-les-Beaune so reasonably priced.
Climate and Viticulture
Since there are no Grands Crus or Premiers Crus, the limestone soil in Chorey-les-Beaune is obviously not concentrated enough to yield wine of a pure nature, but with that said, the soil and climatic conditions were good enough to cause INAO to give the area its own appellation.
- Pinot Noir: The Pinot Noir from Chorey-les-Beaune is intense but fresh with a ripe tinge. There are no particularly exotic flavors, with traditional red fruit and earth more common. Stronger than usual tannins make the wine ageable for up to 10 years, although fans of fuller-bodied wines may enjoy drinking it early.
- Chardonnay: Only minuscule amounts of white wine are produced under this appellation.
There are several dedicated producers in Chorey-les-Beaune, but the most easily available wines--and often the best--are made by larger producers with diversified holdings. Since there are no appellations within Chorey, we discuss the four producers' wines here on this page.
- Drouhin: Drouhin is one of the premier Chorey-les-Beaune growers despite the fact that the domaine is spread out all across Burgundy. The wines are elegant in Drouhin's typical style, and are often below $30, a stunning value for any Côte d'Or Pinot. The 2005 is especially suitable for Pinot lovers on a budget.
- Dominique Laurent: Sweet and simply made, Dominique Laurent's Chorey-les-Beaunes are good entry-level Pinots. They follow a classically approachable style but can age.
- Domaine Maillard Pere et Fils: An earthy, simple but enjoyable wine is made by this producer. At about $40 to start, it is more expensive than Drouhin but often displays more concentration.
- Domaine Tollot Beaut: Consistently good and well-priced (under $30 again) Pinots are made by this producer, even if they may be a bit neglected by wine critics.
There are no Grands Crus, Premiers Crus, or major lieux-dits in Chorey-les-Beaune. All the leading wine is labeled under the village name or as simply Chorey.