The Mâconnais region of southern Burgundy is white wine country. Chardonnay production accounts for close to 90% of all its wine. 2014 was a superb vintage for white Burgundy and all of this week’s featured wines are drinking beautifully right now.
The composite of two top communes in the Mâconnais, Viré-Clessé was recognized in the late 1990s with appellation status for its superior quality Chardonnay-based wines. What makes Viré-Clessé so special is a combination of chalky clay soil over limestone and hillside vineyards with favorable exposition to the sun. In the right hands the result are wines plump with fruit yet balanced by a streak of bracing minerality. At their best, they are as close to a properly matured Côte de Beaune white you can get for a fraction of the price and without spending years in a cellar.
One of the top producers in the region, third generation winemaker Jean-Marie Chaland owns a little over 20 acres of vineyards mostly planted with vines aged 50 to 100 years old in and around Viré-Clessé. With organic certification since 2006, fermentation with indigenous yeast, and only the top cuvées maturing in a tiny proportion of new oak barrels, Jean-Marie’s wines are pure, complex, and expressing all of the fleshiness of this unique subzone.
Special Prices on Mix-and-Match 6-Pack
Domaine des Chazelles “Vieilles Vignes” (Viré-Clessé 2014) White
~$18/bottle SOLD OUT
From a five acre plot of 60+ year old vines that’s well protected from prevailing winds, allowing an advanced ripeness.
Domaine Sainte Barbe “Les Tilles” (Mâcon-Villages 2014) White
From a 3.75 acre plot of vines planted in the late 1960s situated on the silty, clay-limestone plateau of Montbellet. Matured on fine lees for eight months in stainless steel tanks. 3000 bottles produced.
Domaine Sainte Barbe “L’Epinet” (Viré-Clessé 2014) White
~$24/bottle SOLD OUT
From a 1.75 acre plot planted in 1940 on a southeast facing hilltop in the commune of Clessé. Fermentation and aging on lees in barrels for one year (with only one new barrel added per year). 4500 bottles produced.
Domaine Sainte Barbe “Thurissey” (Viré-Clessé 2014) White
~$27/bottle SOLD OUT
From a gently sloping, southeast facing 1.3 acre plot of 95+ year old vines in the northern zone of Viré-Clessé. Fermentation and aging on lees in barrels for one year (with only one new barrel added per year). 2000 bottles produced.
Domaine Sainte Barbe “Terres Rouges” (Mâcon-Burgy 2014) Red
~$19/bottle SOLD OUT
A blend of Gamay, Gamay Chaudenay, Gamay de Bouze and Gamay Fréau from a chalky sandstone and limestone plot of vines aged 45-80 years old. 3000 bottles produced.