Mâcon is a stunning region in the southern part of Bourgogne, France, known for centuries as a great wine-growing region. The Mâconnais is just south of the Côte Chalonnaise and north of the Beaujolais cru, Saint-Amour, and is easily accessible by train. The region is blessed with a unique terroir comprising a combination of mineral-rich soils, gentle slopes, and a moderate climate well-suited for grape cultivation, especially its two star grape varieties, Chardonnay and Gamay. The wines of Mâcon are characterized by their freshness, minerality, and elegant fruit flavors, which are shaped by the terroir, and the winemaking techniques that have been passed down for generations and used by the skilled vignerons of this region.
Here are five reasons why you should explore the wines of Mâcon:
1. Unique terroir
The terroir of Mâcon is unique, and the wines produced in this region directly reflect it. The area enjoys a moderate continental climate with abundant sunshine helping the grapes to achieve ripeness while preserving their natural acidity at night. The soils consist of clay, limestone, and granite dating back millions of years. This area was once covered by a warm, shallow sea, which left behind these deposits of limestone and marl. Over time, tectonic movements caused this ancient seabed to rise and fold, creating the complex topography we see today. For these reasons, even a single grape variety can express itself differently depending on where it's grown in the region. Take Chardonnay from Pouilly-Fuissé, for example. These wines show bright acidity and abundant minerality due to the limestone soils found there. On the other side, Viré-Clessé has rich clay soils producing Chardonnay that is more round and fruity.
The wines of Mâcon offer exceptional value for their price point. While some of the top wines from Bourgogne can be quite expensive, Mâcon offers high-quality wines at a much more reasonable price. For example, you can find delicious Mâcon wines for under $20, making them accessible to a wide range of wine drinkers. This makes them a great choice for everyday drinking, dinner parties, and even gifts. A few great examples include, Domaine Olivier Merlin Macon La Roche-Vineuse, Domaine Dominique Cornin Mâcon-Chaintré, and Vignerons des Terres Secretes Mâcon Verzé "Croix Jarrier."
The wines of Mâcon are incredibly versatile and can complement a wide variety of dishes. Their natural acidity and minerality are perfect for pairing with rich, creamy dishes such as risotto or creamy pasta, as they can cut through the richness and cleanse the palate. They also make the perfect "apero" wine and match seamlessly with cheese plates, charcuterie, and crudités. Due to the diversity of terroir and winemaking styles found in the region, you can find a range of styles from "vin de soif" to "vin de gastronomie." Essentially, everything you need can be found in one place!
4. The people
The winemakers of Mâcon are passionate about their craft and producing high-quality wines that showcase the unique terroir of their region. Many wineries offer tours and tastings, allowing visitors to learn about the winemaking process and sample some of the region's best wines. This is unique as booking tasting appointments in the more northern part of Bourgogne can be challenging. There is great camaraderie and pride in Mâcon, which can be seen at annual events like "La Distinction Saint-Vincent," created in 1986 to highlight the best cuvées in the region. Wines are tasted blind by a jury, and the winners of each category will showcase their wine at "Les Mâcon Wine Note," which is a yearly festival filled with food, wine, and music.
5. Commitment to sustainability
Sustainability has become a critical aspect of wine production worldwide, and the Mâcon region is no exception. Mâcon is home to several wineries implementing sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint. One example is Domaine Dominique Cornin, a family-owned winery that has been producing high-quality wines for over two decades. Their commitment to sustainability is evident in their organic certification and use of composting, cover cropping, and natural pest control methods. Through their dedication to sustainability, vigneron Romain Cornin is preserving the region's natural surroundings and producing wines that reflect the unique terroir of the Mâcon area.
In conclusion, the wines of Mâcon are a treasure of the wine world. They offer great value for money, food-friendliness, and a unique flavor profile that reflects the region's terroir. The people of Mâcon are incredibly passionate about their craft and are dedicated to preserving their traditions while embracing modern winemaking techniques. Their commitment to sustainability ensures that the wines of Mâcon will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come. So, if you haven't already, explore the wines of Mâcon and discover the unique flavors that make them so special.