WineAccess Travel Log
Read stories from the world's greatest wine trails.
The vast Maconnais region of southern Burgundy is a particularly rich source for reasonably priced Chardonnays. Most of this area is somewhat warmer than the Cote d'Or, and thus the vines here usually enjoy a longer season and achieve greater ripeness. You'll find everything from lush, tropical-fruity examples that can out-California California Chardonnay at half the price to more serious wines that can rival examples from the Cote d'Or at a fraction of the cost. There is very little red wine of note made in the Maconnais: Pinot Noir here must be labeled simply "Bourgogne" and the wine called Macon rouge is made from Gamay.
The most basic wines of the region, labeled "Macon" or "Macon-Villages," are usually made in stainless steel tanks and bottled quickly to preserve their bright, crisp fruit. These wines are generally best suited for drinking within a few years after their release. In theory, Macon-Villages is the appellation used to signify higher-quality wines from the region's favored villages. As a general rule, sites on the first slopes near the Saone River are best. Wines made from fruit from a single village generally append their name to Macon on the label (i.e., Macon-Fuisse, Macon-Vergisson, Macon-Davaye); wines that are blends from two or more of these villages are typically bottled as Macon-Villages. In the northern portion of the large Maconnais area a new appellation controlée, Vire-Clesse, was created in 1999, originally for dry wines only but now including wines with residual sugar too--from a large delimited area around the towns of Viré and Clessé. The harvest here takes place a good week to ten days later than in vineyards farther to the south, leaving open the possibility of extra ripeness and the incidence of botrytis.
Top Expert Rated Macon Wines Under $50