Only two hours from Paris, Noyers-sur-Serein is an ideal base for a tour around Northern Burgundy, its vineyards and other places of interest.
Wines from Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, around the towns of Beaune and Dijon, are known worldwide. But Burgundy is not just these wines: there are beautiful wines in Mâconnais or Côte Chalonnaise in its Southern part and Yonne in its Northern part (one of the four departments of Burgundy).
Until the phylloxera crisis, in the second half of the 19th Century, Yonne’s vineyards (called the vineyards of Low Burgundy) used to be the biggest Burgundian vineyards by area with 38 000 hectares and supplying Paris. The vineyard around Dijon was smaller, with 26 000 hectares.
It is smaller today with 7 000 hectares in Yonne and 9 500 around Dijon but the quality is much better.
It is in Yonne that Serein Terroirs is based.
Chablis’s wine is renown worldwide but Yonne’s vineyards also produce wines from Irancy, Saint-Bris, Epineuil, Chitry, Auxerre and Tonnerre. They are less well-known than their neighbours but they are really worth the detour.
Like everywhere else in Burgundy, the concept of "terroir" is important and each wine is unique according to the particular plot it comes from, its orientation, its soil, the way it is grown and of course, the wine-maker. This variety and unique character is what we wish to show you.
The vineyards around the town of Auxerre are known as « Grand Auxerrois » and offer different types of Appellations:
- Village Appellations,
- Local regional Appellations
- Regional Appellations shared by all areas in Burgundy
• There are two Village Appellations:
- Saint-Bris-le-Vineux : This is a nice old village of about 1 000 inhabitants which sits above beautiful medieval stone-built cellars unique in Burgundy. Its Village Appellation is a white wine called Saint-Bris made with Sauvignon and Sauvignon gris (grey). Along with the Bouzeron Appellation which is made with the Aligoté doré (golden) grape variety, it is the only other Appellation in Burgundy not made with the Chardonnay grape variety. It was created in 2003 and replaces the former Sauvignon de Saint-Bris Appellation.
- Irancy : This is a small village where cherry trees grow together with grape vines giving a hint of a medieval polyculture scene. Irancy wine became a Village Appellation in 1999. It is made from Pinot Noir grape variety but winemakers can, if they wish, add up to 10% of another variety called César, a traditional grape of the place which is very strong in colour and said to be imported by the Romans, which explains its name.
• Local regional Appellations : Bourgogne Chitry, Bourgogne Côte Saint-Jacques, Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre, Bourgogne Coulanges-la-Vineuse and Bourgogne Vézelay.
• Burgundy regional Appellations (shared by all areas) : Bourgogne, Bourgogne Aligoté, Bourgogne Passe-tout-grains, Côteaux bourguignons et Crémant de Bourgogne
Chablis is one of the most famous wine in the world, made from the Chardonnay grape variety. Chablis is the only Appellation in France which refers to the geological origin of its Kimmeridgian subsoil (a stage in the Upper Jurassic Epoch, i.e. from 157 to 152 million years ago).
There are 4 different Appellations :
• Petit Chablis
• Chablis Premier Cru
• Chablis Grand Cru
The vineyards lie along the banks of the river Serein which crosses them from North to South.
Petit Chablis can be produced anywhere within the Chablis area.
Chablis wine can be produced within 20 villages among which 11 can also make Chablis Premier Cru. Their vines stand on the right and left banks of the river Serein. The right-bank Premier Crus get the afternoon sun and are the most famous. They surround the Grands Crus hill which sits just outside Chablis.
There are 7 Grands Crus :
Blanchot, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Les Preuses, Valmur and Vaudésir.
In his book Topographie de tous les vignobles connus (Topography of all known vineyards, 1866, 5th Edition), André Jullien writes that wines from Tonnerre and Epineuil « are as good as some of the first Meursault cuvées » while Chablis wines are « white wines highly regarded » but stand in the second Class of French wines, coming right after Meursault’s first cuvées.
Today, wines from Tonnerre and Epineuil are only Regional Appellations, the first one in white, the second in red and rosé. There are called Bourgogne Tonnerre and Bourgogne Epineuil.