Pedological criteria according to the French hierarchy of vintages, Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC): study of two toposequences located in the Burgundian “Côte”

The concept of terroir is defined by a set of natural and human factors. On the slopy vineyards of the Burgundian « Côte », the « Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) » spread out according to the slope in their order of quality : « AOC Grand Cru » at the top, « AOC Premier Cru » and « AOC Village » and « Bourgogne » on the piemont. In order to correlate the hierarchy of the vintages with the evolution of the topographic and pedological criteria, two toposequences were studied, in Gevrey Chambertin (« Côte de Nuits ») and Aloxe Corton (« Côte de Beaune »). Each profile was described according to STIPA 2000 guidelines, and was sampled for micro-morphological observations and physicochemical analyses. Such division of the vineyard expresses the character of the wines, according to two different lithologies, on which rendosols are established on the top of the flanks : hard limestones of Bathonian (« Côte de Nuits ») and marls of Oxfordian (« Côte de Beaune »). The soils on marls are less coloured and more calcareous than the others. On the slope and piemont, deeper, more or less calcareous soils develop on colluvial and others weathered materials. The permeability of the soils, which depends on the stoniness and the texture, is higher upstream than downstream. If the permeability is a prevailing factor in the classification of the AOC, the chemical factors have a more shaded impact : the total limestone content is maximal on the top of toposequences on the « AOC Grand Cru »; organic matter content tends to decrease downsteam, whereas the soil CEC is higher in the piemont.

Authors: Jean LEVEQUE, Edith TOULEMONDE and Francis ANDREUX

UMR INRA 1229 Microbiologie et Géochimie des Sols, Centre des Sciences de la Terre,
Université de Bourgogne, 6 boulevard Gabriel, 21000 Dijon, France


Keywords: terroir, AOC, hierarchy, toposequence, permeability

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