Ep 348: The Mâconnais of Burgundy

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Ep 348: The Mâconnais of Burgundy

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The Mâconnais is the southernmost area of Burgundy, known for excellent Chardonnay. Although it's often overshadowed by the other parts of Burgundy and only given credit for AOC Pouilly-Fuissé, this picturesque and historic Chardonnay-dominated region has some of exciting appellations you should seek out to see what Mâcon is capable of (hint: a lot, at great prices to boot!)

Source: Vins de Bourgogne



Here are the show notes:

Mâcon location:

The Mâconnais is located between the Côte Chalonnaise and Beaujolais in Burgundy. It is a transitional area between the north and south of France, where the climate starts to warm a bit, and plusher, fuller styles of wine are possible. The vineyards are on a long strip between two valleys split by the Saône River in the east as it flows south to meet the Rhône and Grosne River in the west. The Mâconnais has 3,345.82 ha/8,268 acres of vineyard over rolling hills that intersperse with pastures, orchards and other agriculture. Chardonnay represents 80% of all vines planted in the region. Reds are made of Gamay and Pinot Noir. Mâcon covers wines of white, red, and rosé.



History

Vines have been here since Gallo-Roman times but viticulture took off with the Abbey of Cluny, a Benedictine monastery founded in AD 910. These monks were dedicated to viticulture and were responsible for spreading it all over Europe: The order of monks from Cluny at its height had 20,000 monks in 2,000 dependent monasteries from Portugal to Poland. In response to the success of Cluny, the Cistercian Abbey of Cîteau, equally influential in wine, began in 1098.The monastic influence lasted through 15th -16th centuries, but as that tradition waned, so did the demand for wines from the homeland at Cluny in the Mâconnais. Historically reds were favored for wine (there is a lot of Gamay, since Mâcon was not part of the Duchy of Burgundy and hence it was never outlawed to grow it here as it was farther north), but whites began to increase in popularity after phylloxera in the 1870s. Still, even in 1952, over 60% of the wine was red

Source: Vins de Bourgogne

Mâcon Location/Land

The Mâcon is separated by a series of parallel faults, many vineyards like on north/north-westerly or south/south-easterly exposure. To the southwest of the town of Tournus,there are little valleys that are great for vines. To the south the hills open to an area that has two rocky outcrops, the most important being Vergisson and Solutré – the lower slopes of these rocky peaks is the best area in the Mâcon. Soils range from limestone to flinty clay with sandstone pebbles, and schist. This is a sunny area with warm summers and a risk of spring frosts.

Source: Vins de Bourgogne



The Appellations

Mâcon Appellation

This broad appellation makes red, white, and rosé from anywhere in the Mâconnais. The main grapes are Chardonnay for white, and Gamay and Pinot Noir for the reds and rosés, although most of the Pinot Noir is used for general AOC Bourgogne rouge. Lots of other regional wines are sourced from here – Crémant, Bourgogne Passe-tout-grains and Bourgogne Aligoté. Since many wines classify for the higher specificity Mâcon-Villages, the Mâcon appellation is used far less. They are easy drinkers -- the white is Chardonnay, red Gamay and Pinot Noir.

Macon-Villages

If a wine is harvested within a specific commune, producers can use the word Villages on the label. The best comes from a delimited region of dozens of villages in the southern section of the Mâcon – from the town of Chardonnay down to the border with Beaujolais. The limited amount of red is mainly Gamay and is fruity, violet scented, and fill. The reds are simple and easy to drink. The rosés have similar flavors to the reds, but are acidic yet mouth filling. Mâcon Villages Blanc are reliable Chardonnays with good acidity and honeysuckle, apple, and some grassy/shrubby notes. Like everything in the Mâconnais, the flavors will vary based on village/terroir and the winemaker. A higher and more reliable version of Mâcon-Villages is Mâcon plus the name of the village. These include: Lugny, Mancey, Milly, Lamartine, Péronne, Pierreclos, Prissé, La Roche-Vineuse, Serrières, Saint-Gengoux-le-National, Verzé. Best villages are usually Lugny or Prissé A lot of wine sold to big merchants. Good producers: Joseph Drouhin, Louis Latour, Verget



Pouilly Fuissé

AOC Pouilly-Fuissé was created in 1936. It was well known as an excellent collection of sites and regulators chose land for the appellation that was covered in the best soil -- clay with limestone base. It was decided that there would be no Premier Crus and there are none to this day. Pouilly-Fuissé is a large appellation: 1,871 acres of vineyard land, which yield about 400,000 cases per year. Located between the cliffs of Solutré and Vergisson lie the villages:...
The Mâconnais is the southernmost area of Burgundy, known for excellent Chardonnay. Although it's often overshadowed by the other parts of Burgundy and only given credit for AOC Pouilly-Fuissé, this picturesque and historic Chardonnay-dominated region has some of exciting appellations you should seek out to see what Mâcon is capable of (hint: a lot, at great prices to boot!)

Source: Vins de Bourgogne



Here are the show notes:

Mâcon location:

The Mâconnais is located between the Côte Chalonnaise and Beaujolais in Burgundy. It is a transitional area between the north and south of France, where the climate starts to warm a bit, and plusher, fuller styles of wine are possible. The vineyards are on a long strip between two valleys split by the Saône River in the east as it flows south to meet the Rhône and Grosne River in the west. The Mâconnais has 3,345.82 ha/8,268 acres of vineyard over rolling hills that intersperse with pastures, orchards and other agriculture. Chardonnay represents 80% of all vines planted in the region. Reds are made of Gamay and Pinot Noir. Mâcon covers wines of white, red, and rosé.



History

Vines have been here since Gallo-Roman times but viticulture took off with the Abbey of Cluny, a Benedictine monastery founded in AD 910. These monks were dedicated to viticulture and were responsible for spreading it all over Europe: The order of monks from Cluny at its height had 20,000 monks in 2,000 dependent monasteries from Portugal to Poland. In response to the success of Cluny, the Cistercian Abbey of Cîteau, equally influential in wine, began in 1098.The monastic influence lasted through 15th -16th centuries, but as that tradition waned, so did the demand for wines from the homeland at Cluny in the Mâconnais. Historically reds were favored for wine (there is a lot of Gamay, since Mâcon was not part of the Duchy of Burgundy and hence it was never outlawed to grow it here as it was farther north), but whites began to increase in popularity after phylloxera in the 1870s. Still, even in 1952, over 60% of the wine was red

Source: Vins de Bourgogne

Mâcon Location/Land

The Mâcon is separated by a series of parallel faults, many vineyards like on north/north-westerly or south/south-easterly exposure. To the southwest of the town of Tournus,there are little valleys that are great for vines. To the south the hills open to an area that has two rocky outcrops, the most important being Vergisson and Solutré – the lower slopes of these rocky peaks is the best area in the Mâcon. Soils range from limestone to flinty clay with sandstone pebbles, and schist. This is a sunny area with warm summers and a risk of spring frosts.

Source: Vins de Bourgogne



The Appellations

Mâcon Appellation

This broad appellation makes red, white, and rosé from anywhere in the Mâconnais. The main grapes are Chardonnay for white, and Gamay and Pinot Noir for the reds and rosés, although most of the Pinot Noir is used for general AOC Bourgogne rouge. Lots of other regional wines are sourced from here – Crémant, Bourgogne Passe-tout-grains and Bourgogne Aligoté. Since many wines classify for the higher specificity Mâcon-Villages, the Mâcon appellation is used far less. They are easy drinkers -- the white is Chardonnay, red Gamay and Pinot Noir.

Macon-Villages

If a wine is harvested within a specific commune, producers can use the word Villages on the label. The best comes from a delimited region of dozens of villages in the southern section of the Mâcon – from the town of Chardonnay down to the border with Beaujolais. The limited amount of red is mainly Gamay and is fruity, violet scented, and fill. The reds are simple and easy to drink. The rosés have similar flavors to the reds, but are acidic yet mouth filling. Mâcon Villages Blanc are reliable Chardonnays with good acidity and honeysuckle, apple, and some grassy/shrubby notes. Like everything in the Mâconnais, the flavors will vary based on village/terroir and the winemaker. A higher and more reliable version of Mâcon-Villages is Mâcon plus the name of the village. These include: Lugny, Mancey, Milly, Lamartine, Péronne, Pierreclos, Prissé, La Roche-Vineuse, Serrières, Saint-Gengoux-le-National, Verzé. Best villages are usually Lugny or Prissé A lot of wine sold to big merchants. Good producers: Joseph Drouhin, Louis Latour, Verget



Pouilly Fuissé

AOC Pouilly-Fuissé was created in 1936. It was well known as an excellent collection of sites and regulators chose land for the appellation that was covered in the best soil -- clay with limestone base. It was decided that there would be no Premier Crus and there are none to this day. Pouilly-Fuissé is a large appellation: 1,871 acres of vineyard land, which yield about 400,000 cases per year. Located between the cliffs of Solutré and Vergisson lie the villages:...
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