Mercurey, a tasty appellation of the Côte Chalonnaise
With more than 640 hectares of vines, the Mercurey appellation is the largest in the Côte Chalonnaise. This AOC, which is one of the oldest in France, is known for its tasty and gourmet red wines. They are usually classified alongside the great wines of Burgundy, as are the crus of the prestigious Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. Classified as Village and Premier Cru, the wines of Mercurey, in red, but also in white, offer an excellent quality-price ratio. One more reason to (re)discover these Burgundy wines.
General presentation of Mercurey
A few kilometres north-west of Chalon-sur-Saône, the Mercurey appellation area is located in the north of the Côte Chalonnaise; this sub-area of the Burgundy vineyard extends the Côte de Beaune and joins the Mâconnais. The AOC spreads out between Rully and Givry, on the villages of Mercurey and Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu, in Saône-et-Loire.
The 640 hectares of vines in the Mercurey AOC are mainly devoted to Pinot Noir, the flagship grape variety of Burgundy. About a hundred hectares are planted with Chardonnay for more confidential white wines: they represent about 15% of the production.
Mercurey is a communal appellation of Burgundy. Of its 117 plots of land, 85 are classified as Premier Cru. Among them, we can quote Les Montaigus, Les Fourneaux, Clos Voyens, Clos du Roy, Clos des Barraults, Sazenay...
Characteristics of Mercurey
The Mercurey vineyard is characterised by a wide variety of soils, altitudes and exposures. As a result, the wines offer a wide variety of characters, both red and white. However, there are certain common characteristics, mainly due to the grape varieties used.
The red mercureys have a ruby red colour, almost dark. The aromas are of red fruits such as raspberry, strawberry and, above all, cherry. With age, they evolve towards undergrowth, leather and spices. Even if they differ from one terroir to another, the red mercureys offer a tasty, greedy, fresh and fruity profile. It is said to appeal to women; after all, it was the favourite wine of Marguerite de Flandres, Duchess of Burgundy, and Gabrielle d'Estrées, the famous mistress of King Henry IV.
The white Mercureys detail the qualities of Chardonnay. Their colour is golden with green reflections. The nose is one of white flowers such as hawthorn and acacia. This bouquet often blossoms on a background of dried fruits (almond, hazelnut) and spices (cinnamon, pepper). A mineral note is often present in the tasting.
Red Mercureys are good wines for laying down. Moreover, they benefit from ageing before being drunk: they are mature at 6-8 years. The best vintages, most often Premier Cru, can be aged for 15-20 years. The white wines of the Mercurey appellation can be kept for 2 to 8 years, more for the best Premier Cru.
How to taste a Mercurey
A red Mercurey is traditionally drunk with local dishes: coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, snails, etc. This wine goes well with meats: entrecôtes, roast pork, simmered poultry, grilled chicken... Reserve a Mercurey Premier Cru for a meal of small game birds. This pinot noir also goes well with exotic dishes. Finally, soft cheeses and matured cheeses can be served with a glass of red Mercurey. It is advised to serve it at a temperature of 15-16°.
White wines from the Mercurey appellation are recommended for fish and seafood dishes. They can also be enjoyed with Asian-inspired dishes. Hard cheeses go well with them. And a white Mercurey, served chilled at a temperature of 11-13°, is perfect for the aperitif.