(© BIVB / Muzard J.P.)
The Chassagne-Montrachet title covers both red wines, made from Pinot Noir, and whites made from Chardonnay – producing roughly equal quantities of each. The particularly high quality of the whites is responsible for the commune's good reputation, and led to a marked increase in white wine production during the latter years of the 20th century.
Chassagne-Montrachet is home to the most southerly of Burgundy's Grand Cru vineyard sites, Criots-Batard-Montrachet, and also to the southern half of both Le Montrachet and Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru. It also boasts a large number of Premier Cru vineyards, which flow unbroken across the entire span of the commune, from its southern border with Santenay to its northern border with Puligny-Montrachet.
The soils around Chassagne-Montrachet are characteristically Burgundian, with a high content of limestone – particularly on the slopes of the Cote d'Or (the 27-mile/45-km limestone escarpment running from Dijon to Santenay). There is a distinct difference, however, between the vineyard sites to the south of Chassagne-Montrachet village and those to the north. To the south, they have a higher concentration of limestone marl and red gravel – soils which suit Pinot Noir better. To the north, the harder marlstone gives way to softer, finer limestone structures; it is here that some of the world's most-respected Chardonnay is produced.
The climate around Chassagne-Montrachet is of continental type, with warm, dry summers and cool, extended winters. While spring arrives earlier here than in Burgundy's northern outposts like Chablis, the commune's viticulturalists must still contend with cold spring mornings and the risk of frost damage to their vines.