The Côte Chalonnaise is a wine-producing region in the Saône-et-Loire department of Burgundy, eastern France. It is made up of five key communes, separated from one another by only a few miles. From north to south, these are: Bouzeron, Rully, Mercurey, Givry and Montagny. It takes its name from the commune of Chalon-sur-Saône.
The main grape varieties in the Côte Chalonnaise are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Gamay and various other red and white mutations of the Pinot family are planted in smaller quantities.
The Chalonnaise lies between the Côte de Beaune to the north and the Mâconnais, just to the south. There is a clear division between these two areas, conveniently marked by the boundary between the Côte d'Or and Saône-et-Loire administrative departments. The Beaune vineyards are planted firmly along the limestone escarpment of the central Côte d'Or. In contrast, the vineyards of the Chalonnaise are found on more scattered patches limestone soils that characterise the local terroir.
Temperatures here are not noticeably warmer than elsewhere, but the hilly topography does lead to slightly lower levels of rainfall. The climate is continental, with relatively cold winters and warm, dry summers creating good ripening conditions in local vineyards.
As in the Mâconnais, there are no Grand Cru vineyards within the Chalonnaise, although four of the five communes have a number of sites rated Premier Cru. Bouzeron is the only commune with none. This might seem odd as it lies closest to the Côte d'Or.
As is the case across Burgundy, the presence of limestone in the Chalonnaise is vital. The increased minerality it creates in the wines is highly valued and the best vineyard plots are often those with a high content of limestone.
Beyond this, the south-facing slopes that overlook each of the Côte Chalonnaise communes are where most Premier Cru sites are found. This is particularly obvious in Givry. Here the most prized vineyards are dotted around south- and south-east-facing slopes surrounding a quarry.
The regional Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise appellation is applicable to all areas of the Chalonnaise. It provides entry-level wines to complement the communal titles and their Premier Crus.