The southern gateway to Bourgogne, the kingdom of Chardonnay, where Gamay remains in some places…
The Mâconnais, located in southern Bourgogne, is a wine-growing region that attracts wine lovers from all over the world. This terroir, with its southern accents, offers a picturesque background where the rolling hills of the north turn into majestic cliffs in the south. The region is a real kingdom of Chardonnay, although Gamay also finds its place in certain areas, creating a palette of powerful, richly-aromatic white wines, along with delectable reds.
The Mâconnais covers 35 km between Sennecey-le-Grand and Saint-Vérand, and is 10 km wide, delimited by the valleys of the Grosne to the west and the Saône to the east. This wine-growing region has two distinct faces. To the south-west of Tournus, the Mâconnais hills spread out with their wooded peaks and valleys ideal for wine-growing. Further south, the grandiose landscapes overlooked by the monumental rocks of Vergisson and Solutré offer steep slopes where vines brave the land to capture the sun.
The Mâconnais owes part of its winegrowing heritage to the monks, in particular the Abbey of Cluny, founded in 909 by William 1st, Count of Mâcon. Following the Benedictine rule of “Ora et labora” (pray and work), the monks created their own vineyards. Cluny’s vineyards extended mainly to the south of present-day Bourgogne, but the monks also had vineyards further north, including the famous Romanée-St-Vivant.
Chardonnay reigns supreme in the Mâconnais, accounting for 80% of the region’s plantations. White wines made from this grape variety are distinguished by their pale gold color and enchanting aromas.
As for red wines, Gamay plays a key role, because unlike other Bourgogne vineyards, it was not banned in the Middle Ages by the Duke of Bourgogne (the Mâconnais did not belong to the Duchy of Bourgogne).
The Mâconnais region offers a wide range of appellations, including Régionale AOCs such as Bourgogne, Bourgogne Aligoté, Bourgogne Passe-tout-grains, Coteaux Bourguignons and Crémant de Bourgogne. However, the specific appellations of the region make the Mâconnais shine, notably the Village AOCs such as Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Loché, Pouilly-Vinzelles, Saint-Véran and Viré-Clessé. Régionale AOCs specific to the Mâconnais, include Mâcon, Mâcon-Villages and Mâcon followed by the name of the village, the 27 additional geographical denominations of the Mâcon AOC. Each of these appellations reveals unique characteristics and a treasure trove for wine enthusiasts exploring this exceptional wine-growing region. The Mâconnais, the southern gateway to Bourgogne, invites you to an unforgettable wine experience, where history, tradition and passion for wine intertwine to create delights for your taste buds.
Come and meet the winegrowers and négociants of the Mâconnais on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, and taste the emblematic appellations of the southern gateway to Bourgogne.