The Wine Conversation – The Mâconnais with Jasper Morris MW & Sarah Kemp June 28th, 2024

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From The Wine Conversation with Sarah Kemp (

Episode Summary:-

Jasper Morris explores the Mâconnais in our latest 10-Minute Masterclass. It is situated 50 miles to the south of Beaune and 50 miles north of Lyon. There are a thousand producers growing grapes, but a lot of their grapes go to the Cave Cooperatives. The soil is a clay-limestone mix, as is true for the Côte d’Or. Jasper explains that if it is called Mâcon it is almost certain to be chardonnay, and it certainly is if it is called Vire-Clessé or Pouilly-Fuissé. There is a little Pinot Noir in the region, which would be bottled as Bourgogne Rouge, and if Gamay is planted it will be called Mâcon with the village name attached.

Regarding the taste of Mâcon, Jasper explains that there are three styles. Mâcon bought from a supermarket is bottled in considerable volumes, usually fermented in stainless steel, and is fresh, cheerful, mineral-driven, gulping wine, which can be very satisfying. The artisanal producers tend to age in barrel and the wines show a little more substance, and clearly have a more southern feel than the wines of the Côte Chalonnaise. “Pouilly-Fuissé, you can get up to 14 percent alcohol without it feeling too heavy, as they all have a thread of acidity underneath,” he notes. And then, Viré-Clessé can be more full-bodied, everything there is on a mini-plateau with several streams. You can also have a little residual sugar, a more late-harvest style that’s unique in Burgundy.

The big negociants have their own holdings or good relationships with the growers. In Pouilly-Fuissé, Jasper recommends looking out for Domaine Ferret, owned by the House of Jadot but independently run, Domaine Barraud, Château de Beauregard, Domaine Jacques Saumaize, Domaine Saumaize-Michelin, and Olivier Merlin, whilst over In Pouilly-Vinzelles, it’s the Bret Brothers. In Viré-Clessé, Domaine Thevenet, Domaine André Bonhomme and Domaine Jean-Marie Chaland. For Mâcon and Mâcon-Villages, the co-operatives and small growers, as well as the interlopers from the north who wish to make chardonnay at more affordable prices, such as Domaine Leflaive and Domaine Lafon.

Jasper’s insider tip is to look for the premier crus in Pouilly-Fuissé which are already established, and the about-to-be-established premier crus in Pouilly-Vinzelles and Pouilly-Loché. “Amazing for the appellation,” Jasper notes. His obscure fact? The village in the Mâconnais called Chardonnay is not named after the grape. It was recorded in the 17th century, when the grapes grown there were red.”

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