Wines of the Mâconnais

by artfuldiner on July 28, 2020

in Artful Diner Mini Review, Breaking News, Opinion, Wine

MaconnaisLocated in the southern portion of France’s Burgundy wine region, Mâconnais is a large grape-growing area that takes its name from the village of Mâcon. It is positioned between Beaujolais to the south and the Côte Chalonnaise to the north.

White wines, which are made from the Chardonnay grape, comprise up to two-thirds of the area’s production. Red and Rosé wines are made primarily from Gamay and Pinot Noir. With the exception of Chards like Pouilly-Fuissé, Saint-Véran and Viré-Clessé, quality is clearly not this region’s main focus, as the great majority of vintages produced here are rather inexpensive unoaked drink-now village level wines.

Bourgogne Select Macon-Villages 2018That being said, however, every so often a vin ordinaire comes along that is a treat to both palate and pocketbook and is well worth seeking out… Such is the 2018 Bourgogne Select Mâcon-Villages. In many ways, this is a typical Village wine – lightly floral with a nice splash of citrus fruit and refreshing minerality. But the 2018 Bourgogne Select also exhibits a distinctly nutty character – faintly reminiscent of almonds, or hazelnuts perhaps, with a particularly attractive smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

 As the summer heats up, this is precisely the kind of eminently quaffable easygoing wine that goes perfectly with a variety of warm weather offerings; or it may also be served up as a thoroughly enjoyable aperitif. Whatever your libationary needs may be, you can’t go wrong with this versatile little beauty.

And, as I mentioned above, this wine is also easy on the pocketbook. Currently it is available through Pennsylvania State Stores at a mind-boggling $12.99 per bottle (also available from a number of sources online for the same price; but don’t forget you must also pay for shipping). A very good wine at a fabulous price point.

 On the other hand, if you’re in the mood to take a step up, I would highly recommend a Chardonnay from the district of Viré-Clessé, a relatively new growing area located in the southern-most point of Mâconnais. The wines from this region are very similar in style to a Premier Cru, yet at a fraction of the price. In addition, they are also often mistaken for high-quality New World Chardonnays, as they tend to be plump, ripe, and voluptuous.

Bonhomme, PascalRecently, I sampled a very nice 2018 Pascal Bonhomme Viré-Clessé Vieilles Vignes. This wine is 100% Chardonnay produced from 60-65-year-old vines grown on clay-limestone soils. Pascal Bonhomme belongs to a younger generation of winemakers. Together with his wife, Nathalie, he manages the entire manufacturing process from the management of the vines and the harvest, which is done by hand, to the wine making and sales.

The 2018 is a certainly a first-rate effort. It’s very clean on the nose, exhibiting aromas of lemon & honey backed by saline. The palate nicely balances a bright acidity with subtle hints of oak and touches of pineapple & honey. The finish is long and dry.

This wine is readily available through Pennsylvania state stores at a very reasonable $22.95 per bottle. I’ve also seen it online for as low as $19.99 (plus shipping) from the Wine Library in Springfield, New Jersey.


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