Mâconnais Wines: Discover the names of all the ‘Mâconnais’ villages that can add their names to elegant Chardonnay wines
Browsing wine labels, especially from the Old World, can be daunting if you don’t know what to look for.
New World countries – like New Zealand, Australia, South Africa – have revolutionized the ease with which wine lovers can enjoy what they buy.
If it is a chardonnay-based wine, New World wines will most likely have the grape on the label.
When it comes to understanding Old World wines, it’s a bit trickier.
French winegrowers rightly love and pride themselves on the notion of terroir.
The wines speak of place, climate, weather, landscape and soil.
Notably the impact on the earth of generations of people and their perseverance and dedication.
Burgundy is famous for producing some of the best wines in the world from chardonnay.
Pinot Noir is the soul of excellent red wines.
As you navigate the mystery of French wine labels, there is one – or maybe I should say 27 – that will make your life easier (and tastier). But how if there are 27!
Burgundy has an incredibly diverse range of appellations. From Chablis to the north with its chardonnay wines, speaking of green apple, lemon, wet stone, to the southernmost Mâconnais.
Here the wine speaks more of the sun, with more ripe fruit.
Within Mâconnais – which mainly produces white wines – labeling levels start with the simplest and inexpensive regional wines that could be labeled Bourgogne AOC.
Then, it is a step up to the AOC Mâcon – but these are mainly reds.
Just like some other French wine regions, in the Mâconnais, there is a category called Mâcon-Villages which must be made up of white wines made from chardonnay.
But apart from that, a group of 27 villages can add their name after the word ‘Mâcon’ on the label.
These are “Wines of geographical name Mâcon plus” and often simply called “Mâcon plus”.
They are perfect wines for food and wine pairings; lively and fresh.
These wines are becoming more and more familiar on the UK wine shelves and they offer high quality wines at great value for money.
Wines entering the category must meet criteria such as reduced yields compared to the broader appellation of Mâcon, as well as higher sugar levels at harvest.
This does not mean that they are sweet wines, as the sugars are dry fermented. But overall, the wines are more complex and fruitful than the other categories.
And they talk about where they come from.
If you walk the aisles, you will now understand what wines are like on the labels: chardonnay from the sunny kingdoms of Burgundy, defined and elegant.
To help you in your search for labels, here is the complete list of ‘Mâcon plus’ wines:
Mâcon-Azé, Mâcon-Bray, Mâcon-Burgy, Mâcon-Bussières, Mâcon-Chaintre, Mâcon-Chardonnay, Mâcon Charnay-Lès-Mâcon, Mâcon-Cruzille, Mâcon-Davayé, Mâcon-Fuissé, Mâcon-Lagé, Mâcon Roche- Vineuse, Mâcon-Loché, Mâcon-Lugny, Mâcon-Mancey, Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine, Mâcon-Montbellet, Mâcon-Péronne, Mâcon-Pierreclos, Mâcon-Prissé, Mâcon-Saint-Gengoux-Le-National, Mâcon-Serrières, Mâcon-Solutré-Pouilly, Mâcon-Uchizy, Mâcon-Vergisson, Mâcon-Verzé, Mâcon-Vinzelles
And here are three to try:
Mâcon-Lugny, Louis Latour, 2019 (Majestic, £ 14.99 – £ 12.99 in a mix six). It is a wine that never stops giving.
The grapes grow on limestone soils in the village of Lugny.
At first I smelled both green and bruised apples, lemon citrus and gooseberries too; then peach and pears.
There is a creamy palate with a hint of acidity.
Mâcon-Prissé, Winemakers of the Secret Lands 2019 (£ 13.35, or £ 11.85 in a case of 12, www.hhandc.co.uk)
Burgundy, despite all my comments about the sunnier climates of the Mâconnais, is still a region with a cool climate.
The acidity of this wine is palpitating, with a background of green apple and lemony freshness. Then the sun enters with soft and mellow peach notes.
Mâcon-Uchizy, Domaine de l’Arfentière 2020 (£ 13.85, or £ 12.25 in a case of 12, as above).
Ah, another silky smooth wine with peach, and intertwined with citrus and a hint of floral notes. The acidity is fresh.
The memory of each sip lingers before you are quickly tempted to take the next.