Etienne is one of Burgundy's great purists, his long-lived wines may need time but they are some of the most honest and terroir-driven wines in Burgundy. The wines are fermented using all or partial whole bunch vinification depending on the vintage, élévage is long and slow in their cold cellars and percentages of new oak are low, rarely more than 50% even for Malconsorts. From some of the most vivid, intense Beaune's there are to perfumed, stylish Volnays and silky Vosnes Romanee, Etienne makes a borad range of some of Burgundy's most polished wines. The Domaine's policy on white wines is to pick as early as possible, as soon as the fruit has just approached ripeness, resulting in tense, fine wines with alcohols rarely more than 13%
A white wine Grand Cru appellation, Corton-Charlemagne stretches in a narrow band around the top of the Corton hill from Ladoix-Serrigny, through Aloxe-Corton to Pernand-Vergelesses. Marginally higher cooler and with whiter spoils than the red wine vineyards of Corton, Corton Charlemagne is ideally suited to the production of white wine. The stony soils here impart a very specific flinty and mineral character displayed by most Corton Charlemagne. The body, style and ripeness of the wine can vary according to where the vineyards are situated - the east-facing vines facing Ladoix tend to produce the most mineral wines,whereas the due south Aloxe-facing side result in the richest, ripest wines. Corton-Charlemagne is a large and underrated Grand Cru vineyard, so a good example can offer the best value drinking of any Grand Cru white Burgundy.