Mâconnais: Chardonnay country
Around 7,000 hectares are planted with vines in the Mâconnais, close to 75 percent of which are Chardonnay. The Mâconnais is thus the most significant Chardonnay growing area in Burgundy in terms of numbers. Although it is the southernmost white wine area in Burgundy, distinctively light, crisp wines originate here. Thanks to improvements in quality in the vineyard and cellar, the quality of the wines from the Mâconnais has also increased markedly in recent years.
White wines from Mâconnais
It is not entirely wrong to refer to the Mâconnais as the cradle of the Chardonnay. After all, the village of Chardonnay is located here, after which the variety is named. The mighty Cluny Abbey was also located close to the city of Mâcon, which greatly promoted and influenced viticulture in Burgundy. The a
As is the case throughout Burgundy, wines here are classified by quality level. The Mâcon AOC provides the foundation level – light, drinkable everyday wines that are esteemed in France as typical bistro wines. Wines under the Mâcon Villages designation are generally more substantial, without losing their crispness in the process. Names at the next-highest level are formed by combining “Mâcon” with the name of the respective village.
rea was originally planted with the Gamay variety, until winemakers recognized that the terroir was far better suited for cultivating Chardonnay.
Prestigious cru classés
Five cru classés rest atop the quality pyramid. Pouilly-Vinzelles (54 hectares) and Pouilly Loché (32 hectares) are two small appellations where robust wines with plenty of freshness originate. Viré-Clessé (403 hectares), Saint-Véran (696 hectares) and Pouilly Fuissé (761 hectares) are significantly more extensive, and today guarantee fine wines at moderate prices. The most prestigious cru classé is without a doubt Pouilly-Fuissé, where the vineyards are situated on spectacular, prominent limestone hills. The wines have robust structure and, at the same time, crisp melodiousness with a level of renown similar to crus from the Chablis region.
Quality is rising
The cooperatives that dominate the area are the basis for the recent upswing in quality, which, thanks to cellar and vineyard investment, increasingly produce clean, crisp wines. The circle of innovative pioneers is formed from winemakers who have begun to vinify their own wines, as well as prominent newcomers from the Côte d’Or, who have recognized that delicate Chardonnays can be produced in the Mâconnais at extremely fair prices.