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Ep 313: The Cote Chalonnaise, Burgundy's Hidden Gem

Wine for Normal People

Release Date: 02/17/2020

Ep 358: Mendocino, California show art Ep 358: Mendocino, California

Wine for Normal People

Mendocino is a large county north of Sonoma that spans one California’s largest, most diverse, and northernmost wine growing regions. Mendo producers make everything from sophisticated, earthy, cool climate Pinot Noir and Alsace varietals, to elegant sparkling wine to full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. There is a myriad of climates, soils and especially elevations in Mendocino, and learning more will make you question why the wine isn't more available and known.

Ep 357: The Role of Alcohol in Wine show art Ep 357: The Role of Alcohol in Wine

Wine for Normal People

It’s the first show of our 10th year! WOW! This time we discuss the role alcohol plays in a glass of wine. As one of the four most important structural components of wine, alcohol can help make or break what is in your glass. We super dork out in this show, discussing everything from irrigation to yeast to reverse osmosis and taxes. A very nerdy way to start out 2021!

Ep 356: The Historic Champagne Lanson with Hervé Dantan, Cellarmaster show art Ep 356: The Historic Champagne Lanson with Hervé Dantan, Cellarmaster

Wine for Normal People

Founded in 1760 as the 4th Champagne house, Lanson is known for its fresh, acidic style (no malolactic fermentation). In this show, Hervé Dantan, cellarmaster and Champagne native, gives us a unique perspective. Rather than marketing and image, Hervé tells us how Champagne is truly made. He focuses a lot on the land and the vineyard. As the son of wine growers, his perspective is so very different from many in the region, who choose instead to focus on the process in the winery.

Ep 355: The 8 Holiday Wine Gifts for Wine Lovers (plus 5 wine gag gifts to make you laugh) show art Ep 355: The 8 Holiday Wine Gifts for Wine Lovers (plus 5 wine gag gifts to make you laugh)

Wine for Normal People

It's the end of the year and there's still time to get interesting and USEFUL gifts for the wine lovers in your life. We covered basics of glassware and gadgets in Ep 338, but this pod covers some cool gift ideas that aren't essentials but, rather, nice to haves (or just damn funny to know about in the case of the 5 gag gifts!).

Ep 354: A New Look At Bordeaux's Médoc -- with Château  La Cardonne's Magali Guyon  show art Ep 354: A New Look At Bordeaux's Médoc -- with Château La Cardonne's Magali Guyon

Wine for Normal People

Magali Guyon has been the technical director/ winemaker of Château La Cardonne, the prestigious Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, for more than 20 years.  We take a different look at the Médoc (the prestigious Left Bank of Bordeaux) and approach it as a proposition of growing and terroir – not of pretty chateaux and expensive wines. Magali helps us reframe the discussion of Bordeaux teaching us that Bordeaux is about the vineyard and the land, not the glitz and glamour that is too often emphasized.

Ep 353: Women in Wine and the Subtle Symphony of Quiet Misogyny show art Ep 353: Women in Wine and the Subtle Symphony of Quiet Misogyny

Wine for Normal People

After mulling over the various scandals in wine lately, and thinking about my position in the wine world, I have a perspective to add beyond just a social media post to call out the behavior of those in the wine business, those who have minimized the situation, and the hollow calls for change that likely won’t happen. I discuss my experiences as a woman in wine, and how the solutions to solving issues that underpin the entire industry are sadly inadequate.

Ep 352: The 2020 Thanksgiving Episode -- American Wine Edition show art Ep 352: The 2020 Thanksgiving Episode -- American Wine Edition

Wine for Normal People

2020 has been unlike any other, so we are recommending some different things for this year’s annual Thanksgiving show. This year has been tough for everyone, but small, family-owned wineries have been hit pretty hard. Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday, so for this year, especially, we’re recommending that we show support for great American, family-owned wineries and their wines that pair perfectly with any kind of Thanksgiving food you decide to eat.

Ep 351: Severine Schlumberger of Domaine Schlumberger and the very French side of Alsace show art Ep 351: Severine Schlumberger of Domaine Schlumberger and the very French side of Alsace

Wine for Normal People

Séverine Schlumberger joins us for the third installment of our mini-tour of Alsace (first installment was Ep 343). To provide a counterpoint to Phillippe Blanck of Domaine Paul Blanck (Ep 250), the Schlumberger family is more devoutly French in attitude and Séverine tells us a different story of her family’s heritage, attitudes, and how Domaine Schlumberger developed and grew to become one of the largest family-owned domaines in Alsace.

Ep 350: Alsace's Famed Domaine Paul Blanck with Phillippe Blanck show art Ep 350: Alsace's Famed Domaine Paul Blanck with Phillippe Blanck

Wine for Normal People

Building off Episode 343 on Alsace and the Alsace class I taught (available on YouTube), Phillippe Blanck of the famed Domaine Paul Blanck joins to talk about his family’s 420-year history in wine, the uniqueness of Alsace and its sites, and how we need to reorient wine to tasting and sensation versus elitist words. You will learn volumes about Alsace, terroir, history, and taste from this wise, very tuned-in, wonderful man

Ep 349: Mas Martinet - A Founding Domaine of Priorat with Sara Perez, Owner show art Ep 349: Mas Martinet - A Founding Domaine of Priorat with Sara Perez, Owner

Wine for Normal People

There are five founding estates of the Priorat region of Spain. Mas Martinet was the first and in this show, brilliant, philosophical owner Sara Perez discusses its history, philosophy, and how she sees the land and wines of this magical, mystical region.

More Episodes

The famed parts of Burgundy make wine that most of us can only read about in books and articles. But Côte Chalonnaise, just south of those famed parts, is a treasure trove of great whites and reds. Although it has been praised throughout history, in recent times it has been overlooked by Burgundy lovers, despite the fact that in many years it makes wine that isn't so different from its neighbors to the north.

As a quick overview, the region takes its name from the commune of Chalon-sur-Saône, near the Saône River. It is sandwiched between the Côte de Beane and north of the hills of the Maconnais, and here Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and the white Aligoté grape grow on soils strikingly similar to Côte de Beaune, which is a mere 3 miles away.


The Côte Chalonnaise is between the Dheune and Grosne Valleys. With a continental climate, it rolls over gentle hills with many areas that possess the very same limestone prized (and 3-5 times more for) in the Côte de Beaune.


With max’ed out demand for the wines of the Côte d’Or (where the best Pinot is from) and the wines of the Côte de Beaune (the most famed Chardonnay wines, also with excellent Pinot), prices for wines from these areas of Burgundy are simply outrageous. Although the wines of the Côte Chalonnaise are not always as elegant as those from the regions to its north, they are still outstanding wines and better yet, they are wines that we can afford that allow us to taste the land of Burgundy without paying 6 months mortgage for a single bottle.


In the rest of the show, we discuss specific appellations. Here are the notes:


Regional: Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise

  • The red of Pinot Noir is dark colored, berry and cherry scented and flavored wines often with a mushroom or earth note. The wine has good tannin, acidity and is lovely to drink.
  • The whites of Chardonnay are light colored, with apple, floral, lemon and honey with good acidity. They are often fermented or aged in oak barrels.
  • The rosé is made of Gamay or Pinot Noir and can be herbal, spicy, full of red berry notes and have great acidity.

Cremant de Bourgogne: Although not exclusively made in Chalonnaise, this is the area in which the sparkling wine was first made.  



Bouzeron: The only appellation to make wine from the Aligoté grape, which is acidic, aromatic, and silky when made well.

  • Top producers: A & P de Villaine, André Delorme, Chanzy Frères


Rully: The whites of Chardonnay are the best in Côte Chalonnaise and are very often better than comparable wines from the Côte de Beaune for a way better price. Rully is adjacent to Bouzeron and makes excellent Pinot Noir too. The whites of Chardonnay are usually fermented or matured in oak.  The best Crémant is made here as well

  • Top Premiers crus: La Pucelle, Grésigny, Meix Cadot, Montpalais and Champs Cloux.
  • Top producers:  André Delorme, Domaine de la Folie, P & M Jacqueson; Jean-Baptiste Ponsot


Mercurey: The Côte Chalonnaise was once known as the Région de Mercurey, because the area is so large and important. Divided into two parts, there are lots of sub valleys on either side which make research necessary to get good wines. 25% of vineyards are classified as Premier Cru, but these are more legitimate than other communes, because Mercurey does regular reviews, to make more stringent conditions than the appellation's other wines (the maximum yields are closer to those of the Cote d’Or). 90% of the wine is flavorful, earthy, spicy Pinot Noir with chewy, rich tannins, great acidity, and mineral notes.

  • Top Premiers crus: Combins, Champs Martin, Clos des Barraults, Clos l’Eveque, from north of the village, and Clos de Roi and En Sazenay from the other side.
  • Top producers: Philippe Garrey; Michel Juillot, Guy Narjoux, Lorenzo, Antonin Rodet


Givry: Similar to Mercurey, Givry’s production is 90% Pinot Noir. Also like Mercurey, the excellent limestone based soils allow the best Givry producers make wines similar in style to Côte d’Or for a fraction of the price. This is a small area but it has 38 Premier Crus and that means the significance of those climats isn’t always earned – do your research before you buy!

  • Top Premiers Crus: Cellier Aux Moines, Clos de la Barraude, Clos Salomon, Clos du Vernoy, Servoisine
  • Top producers:  Jean-Marc Joblot; François Lumpp; Vincent Lumpp; Domaine du Clos Salomon, Domaine du Jardin

File:Img1418 vendanges Côte Chalonnaise.jpg


Montagny: With only whites made from Chardonnay, limestone soils are vital to adding minerality in the wines. The wines are generally barrel fermented for depth and complexity. They are rich and full.


The challenges with Montagny: 2/3 of the production is from the local co-op in Buxy . Although they make quality wine, they have a strangle-hold on producers and there are fewer independent domaines here.  The other issue: during World War II the appellation was deemed to be ALL Premier Cru and that isn’t really right. Although some producers volunteered to limit the top sites to the best portion of their climat, many didn’t so the proportion of overpriced, improperly classified Premier Cru wine in Montagny is high.

  • Top Premiers Crus: Les Coères, Les Burnins, Les Montcuchots
  • Top producers: Stéphane Aladame, Caves du Buxy, Domaine Feuillat-Juillot


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