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What is the Mercurey appellation?

The Mercurey appellation was created in 1936 and covers the wines of Mercurey as well as those of neighbouring Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu. Mercurey is by far the most prolific of the five communal appellations of Chalonnaise, producing more wine than its neighbours Rully and Givry combined (about 3,000,000 litres). This significant production comes from a dense patchwork of vines covering about 650 hectares of undulating limestone hills.

Mercurey's climate is considered to be continental, with long, hot summers and relatively dry autumn months, allowing for an excellent growing season and a good harvest. The only threat to local viticulture is the particularly cold winters, which can often last longer than in neighbouring regions. Although Mercurey is supposed to be warmer than the communes further north, the appellation's rugged topography and slightly higher altitude moderate temperatures, allowing the wines to retain a certain freshness.

About a quarter of Mercurey's vineyard is classified as Premier Cru, which corresponds to 30 officially recognized and delimited climats. Wines from these sites can add their vineyard name to the Mercurey appellation Premier Cru. The current list of Mercurey Premiers Crus is the product of several studies carried out in 1990, 1997 and 2003. The crus must meet slightly stricter conditions than the other wines of the appellation, namely a higher alcohol content (+0.5%) and a higher minimum level of grape ripeness (+8%) before harvest. Final alcohol levels of up to 14% are allowed, although very few Mercurey wines ever reach this level.

Mercurey takes its name well from the Roman god Mercury, in his capacity as god of commerce. This reflects the location of the village on the Agrippa road that bordered Chalon-sur-Saône in Autun during the Roman period.

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