Posted by: tomciocco | July 29, 2011

MACON? HEY, WHAT VILLAGE?

…and there are a lot of them (over 40). Macon has never been, nor is it ever likely to be the Cote d’Or – in any terms you care to set out: price, quality, press, collectability, cache`, and on and on…

Macon is Burgundy’s (white) blue color zone. Its wines are burly, corpulent, and on the whole, more alcoholic than the deeply complex and rarified  wines to the north in the Cote d’Or. In the glass, Macon wines have more in common with cool-zone California Chardonnay (like Russian River or Carneros) though almost always with more restrained oaking than either Cali’ or The Gold Coast, and more often with none at all (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP).

Wines labeled “Macon-Villages” or “Macon (the name of a particular village)”, confusingly, are equal at least theoretically, in terms of quality and growing laws, though the wines made with fruit sourced from a single village nearly always introduce more distinctive elements of terroir. This classification is Macon’s highest official designation, and though certain growers can and do add single vineyard desigations to their labels,  in the end, Macon is too blue for the cru…at least for now.

This evening’s bottle is a Macon-Solutre` which is geographically directly next to, and in many cases indistinguishable from the celebrated wines of Pouilly-Fuisse`, which is often considerd to be the pinnacle of the Macon in terms of the quality and longevity. Also confusingly, because of its historical fame, Pouilly-Fuisse is actually not required to use “Macon” next to the village name, but I begin to digress…I am also delighted to report that this wine sojourns for some months in large, used oak casks rather than in new barriques, so the effects of oak are purely supportive and understatedly complex.

We were due for a cheesy dinner, and this sort of wine was born to get down with almost any kind of fromage, so in keeping with my usual triumverate of milks, I put out slices of Bouche de Poitou (goat), Brie de Meaux (cow), and Agour Ossau-Iraty (sheep) with bread, pears, apples, and walnuts.

Auvigne Macon-Solutre` 2009

Very bright medium-light greenish golden color. Complex but clear nose of toasted nuts, pickling herbs and spices, quince, papaya, and an intense minerality. The body is medium-full, with excellent cohesion and balance, a soft skin but tightly toned structure, and a clean, prominent acidity with defined flavors of lime, tonic water, yellow cherries, bread crust, and candied fennel.  An energetic, place-driven wine.

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