Santenay, red and white wines worthy of the most famous AOCs in Burgundy
This discreet appellation of the Côte de Beaune has long remained in the shadow of its prestigious neighbour, Chassagne-Montrachet. However, Santenay is a winner: this Burgundy AOC offers great red wines, wines that manage to combine powerful tannins with a generous aromatic bouquet. The rarer white wines of Santenay also have the grandeur that one looks for in the better known Burgundy Chardonnays. With an excellent quality-price ratio, Santenay should seduce you too.
General presentation of the appellation Santenay
The Santenay vineyard is located in the very south of the Côte de Beaune, between the AOC Maranges and Chassagne-Montrachet. On the border of the Côte-d'Or and the Saône-et-Loire, it is partly located in Santenay and partly in Remigny.
This Burgundy Village appellation has 12 Climats classified as Premier Cru, including La Comme, Beauregard, Les Gravières, La Maladière, Beaurepaire, Clos Rousseau... With nearly 300 hectares devoted to Pinot Noir and just under 50 to Chardonnay, red wines are in the majority. The vines benefit from exceptional soils and very good exposure. In some places, the slopes reach 450 metres, a record for a Burgundy Village appellation.
Characteristics of Santenay
The red Santenay is renowned for its harmony between solid tannins and great aromatic finesse. Its colour is a dark red, a purplish ruby that sometimes turns black. It offers the typical aromas of pinot noir: small red and black fruits (redcurrant, raspberry, blueberry) meet spices (cinnamon, pepper) and flowers (violet, peony, rose petal), all expressed on a light background of liquorice. With ageing, this aromatic palette takes on leather and candied fruits.
The white wine Santenay AOC seduces by a fresh and vigorous mouth. Its colour is brilliant, a light pale yellow that evolves towards gold and emerald green. The aromas evoke roasted hazelnut, almond and even bread flavours. White flowers, citrus and fern are also present, accompanied by a refreshing mineral note.
Santenay is a wine for laying down. A red Santenay can easily be kept for 5 to 10 years; the best vintages can be aged for 15, even 25 years or more. A white Santenay can be aged for 3 to 8 years in the cellar.
How to taste a Santenay
Powerful and aromatic, a red wine from the Santenay appellation goes well with fine pieces of meat, especially when they are cooked: beef bourguignon, braised veal, small game, etc. It is also a good choice for Asian-style glazed poultry. And it is often recommended as an accompaniment to a hamburger, provided that it is home-cooked. On a cheese platter, red Santenay goes well with Brie de Meaux, Reblochon, Cîteaux, Pont-l'Evêque, Bleu de Bresse, etc. Serve it at a temperature of about 15-16°.
Floral and mineral, a white Santenay AOC naturally accompanies poultry in cream sauce and fish. It also accompanies pasta dishes and risottos, especially when mushrooms are involved. With cheese, it is best served with Comté, Beaufort or a small goat's cheese. A white Santenay is generally served at a temperature of 11-13°.