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Santenay Premier Cru

Santenay Premier Cru wines are those made under the Santenay appellation from grapes grown in officially recognised premier cru vineyards. There are 12 premier cru sites (or climats) within the appellation's catchment area, and wines from those sites are permitted to bear the climat name on their labels. These sites are divided into three sections – to the north, east and west of the village – following the curve of the limestone slopes above. Being at the southern, rounded tip of the Côte d'Or escarpment, Santenay's vineyard sites are blessed with excellent south-facing exposure to the sun.

Santenay itself is the most southerly wine-producing commune of the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy, with its own communal appellation (created in 1937). The wines are predominantly red and made from Pinot Noir, although a small quantity of Chardonnay is also produced.

A typical Santenay red wine is more deeply coloured than those from further north, but still retains the dark cherry colour so characteristic of red Burgundy. The aromas are of liquorice, red berries and violets, with the most perfumed examples also showing notes of rose petals.

The wines of the Santenay appellation are not held in such high regard as those from its northerly neighbours, as their style leans more towards rustic than refined. This is generally attributed to Santenay's particular terroir, which has a large proportion of marlstone – something it shares with the Côte Chalonnaise, just one narrow valley away.

Santenay is located at the very southern extremity of the limestone ridge (the Côte d'Or) which is home to Burgundy's best vineyard sites. The limestone soils so favourable to fine viticulture thin out just to the north of Santenay itself, but the commune still has its own share of premier cru vineyards. They are concentrated in Santenay's northernmost corners, where it borders Chassagne-Montrachet.

The appellation also covers vineyards within the village of Remigny, just a short distance to the east, which also has a small coverage of premier cru vineyards along its northerly edge.

The climate around Santenay is of continental type, with warm, dry summers and cool, extended winters. Because it is exposed on three sides, Santenay is affected more than other Côte de Beaune communes by westerly winds (which would otherwise be deflected by the Côte d'Or). These winds are rarely strong enough to cause concern for Santenay's grape-growers, but during flowering the vines certainly have a greater susceptibility to damage than those in the more-sheltered vineyards further north.

The 12 Santenay Premier Crus climats are:

- Beauregard
- Beaurepaire
- Clos de Tavannes
- Clos des Mouches
- Clos Faubard
- Clos Rousseau
- Grand Clos Rousseau
- La Comme
- La Maladière
- Les Gravières
- Les Gravières-Clos de Tavannes
- Passetemps