Chassagne-Montrachet is a wine appellation in the Côte-d'Or department of Burgundy in central-eastern France. It used to be called Chassagne-le-Haut, but the name was changed to Chassagne-Montrachet by decree on the 27th November 1879. Around this time, many Burgundy villages appended the name of their most famous vineyards to that of the village name. The controlled wine appellation of Chassagne-Montrachet dates from 1937.
The Chassagne-Montrachet wine region consists of 350ha, located south of Côte de Beaune on gentle slopes at altitudes between 220m - 325m, with varying soil types with distinctive qualities. A succession of rocks from the top down; ranging from pebbly lime stones, through marls to sandy soils with a Jurassic basis.
Most wine produced around the village is white from Chardonnay - being often called the "king of white wines" - plus red wine also made, being crafted from the Pinot Noir. This fine, broad hillside brings out the very highest expression of the two Burgundian varietals. Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay, which grow here side-by side - such is the complexity of the terroirs. A backdrop to the village is the extensive marble quarry, from the cliff face, which is the source of the pink and beige flagstones used to build the Trocadéro in Paris and more recently the Louvre Pyramid.
The appellation includes 55 Premiers Crus, along with the village sharing two Grand Cru vineyards: Montrachet and Bâtard-Montrachet, with the neighbouring village of Puligny-Montrachet, this also includes a third, Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet, which also lies within its boundaries. These three vineyards produce some of the most expensive, expressive and long-lived white wines in the world. It has been described by those in the know - that when it comes to the world's greatest white wines, the border between Chassagne and Puligny is the sacred site, some saying treasure is at the end of the rainbow.
The 3 Grand Crus which are in or partly in Chassagne - are led by the luscious and vibrant Le Montrachet, with whom Chassagne gained consent in 1879, along with Puligny to hyphenate its name. Both Montrachet and the rich, nutty and sometimes honeyed Bâtard Montrachet are shared between Chassagne and Puligny. With the elegant and very rare Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet; lying within the borders of Chassagne. The Grand Crus have their own appellations which is why Chassagne or Puligny does not appear on the label.
Although the most southerly of the three great names of the Côte de Beaune; the Chassagne style is often described as sitting between that of Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault. Not as fine as Puligny and not as rich as Meursault - containing balanced elements of both. Chassagne is luscious and is often floral with mineral and hazelnut notes. These Grand Crus wines should not be opened before 8 years of age and can last 20 years or more. Premier Crus are often at their best between 5 to 15 years of age; village wines from 3 to 8 years.
Perhaps surprisingly, given that the name Montrachet is so synonymous with Chardonnay and therefore white wine, much of the soil in Chassagne is more suited to Pinot Noir. Though Chassagne-Montrachet red wines - should not be compared with those of Corton and Volnay. Indeed it was only really in the second half of the 20th century that white wines began to dominate. The reds have a firm tannic style that need time to soften, with the best examples coming from the Premier Crus Morgeot, Boudriotte and Clos St Jean. At their best they combine the weight of the Côte de Nuits with the suppleness of the Côte de Beaune.
The region is split into; 180 ha of village Chassagne-Montrachet. 159ha of Premier Cru vineyards; with the following being highly rated for many years: Caillerets, Ruchottes, Chaumées and La Boudriotte. Then there are 11ha of Grand Cru vineyards - a small area of each; Le Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet and Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet.
Today approximately 60% of the wines in Chassagne-Montrachet are white. White varietals: 187ha (including 117ha Premier Cru) - Red varietals: 114ha (including 33ha Premier Cru). Chassagne-Montrachet Chardonnay’s are among the best in Burgundy, even in France and are increasingly popular worldwide.