Style – rich, opulent, heady, ripe
120km south of the Dijon is the wine region of the Mâconnais. It is a source of simple, good value wines but close to the Beaujolais border, there is an enclave of quality white wine producing villages. The most esteemed appellation is Pouilly Fuissé which produces whites from chardonnay on limestone hills, rich in alkaline clay. The AOC dates back to 1965 and within the appellation there are four communes. Vergisson, Fuissé, Chaintré and Solutré-Pouilly. The richest wines generally come from Fuissé and Solutré. Vergission is a source of lighter, elegant wines with more minerality and its reputation has increased significantly in recent years. No premier or grand cru classifications exist here or anywhere else in the Mâconnais. However, there are many different climats (lieu dits) -about 100 are now recognised- and there is talk of classifying individual vineyard sites.
Growers often vinify different climats separately to highlight the differences and vineyard names are permitted on the labels. Vines are found in sun traps beneath the crags of Vergisson and Solutré, on the slopes and at the foot of the hills. Soils are similar to those of the Côte de Beaune, a mixture of clay/limestone mixed with scree and schist from further up the slopes. The resulting wines are rich and full bodied, with riper, more tropical fruit than further north in the Côte de Beaune. Good wines from top producers can age incredibly well. There is a new generation of growers that are making excellent wines from low yields that are complex and sophisticated and have driven up the prices in recent years. The aromatic power of the wines means that they are a good match for exotic and lightly spiced dishes.