White Wines from Southern Burgundy
Often overshadowed by their illustrious neighbours to the north, the white wines of the Mâconnais, Côte Chalonnaise and Beaujolais can easily rival those from the more famous Côte de Beaune. More recently, these wines have proven to represent excellent value for the quality that they are exhibiting. Improvements to vineyard management and winemaking have driven the increase in overall quality from these areas.
Stéphane Aladame of Montagny, has farmed his eight hectares of Premier Cru vineyards organically since the early 2000s. He vinifies each hand-picked parcel separately, an approach also championed by winemaker Brice Lafond of Domaine du Roc des Boutires, who also makes the wines of Château du Moulin-à-Vent in the Beaujolais. Nicolas Melin of Domaine La Soufrandise has always managed his seven hectares of vineyards across Fuissé sustainably, which include parcels of ‘Les Ménétrières’, ‘Les Perrières’ and ‘Vers Cras’ which were recently granted Premier Cru status. The recognition of 22 new Premier Cru ‘climats’ in Pouilly-Fuissé from the 2020 vintage is further testament to this drive to grow better quality grapes and produce better wines.
We hope you enjoy this selection of white wines from Burgundy’s southern appellations, which illustrates the potential to be discovered in these lesser-celebrated parts of one of the world’s favourite wine regions.
Domaine Stéphane Aladame Montagny 1er Cru ‘Sélection Vieilles Vignes’ 2018
Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy
Stéphane Aladame is one of the stars of the younger generation of French producers in southern Burgundy. Whereas many young winemakers inherit their estate, Stéphane began from scratch in 1992, at the age of 18. He completed his studies in Beaune before renting vineyards in Montagny, in the Côte Chalonnaise. Stéphane is also a bit of an anomaly in Montagny, as the village is dominated by cooperatives (at around 75%), with only 18 independent producers. Stéphane now cultivates eight hectares, with seven hectares situated in Montagny Premier Cru. The 'Sélection Vieilles Vignes' is a blend of grapes sourced from four Montagny Premier Cru parcels of 40 to 80-year-old vines: ‘Les Platières’, ‘Les Las’, ‘Les Gouresses’, ‘Les Creux de Beaux Champs’. The vines grow on calcareous soils and have been cultivated organically since the early 2000s. Aged for 12 months in 25% new French oak barrels, this is a wine of excellent poise and precision. It has notes of apricot, peach and pear on the nose with great tension and racy acidity on the palate, which lifts the scented finish.
Jean-Claude Boisset Mâcon-Igé ‘Château London’ 2018
The Jean-Claude Boisset wines have been made by Grégory Patriat since 2002. He previously worked as head viticulturalist and assistant winemaker at the legendary Domaine Leroy, and has brought a detailed, vineyard-led approach to Jean-Claude Boisset. Igé is one of the Mâconnais’ top villages, where the name can be added to the label, indicating a wine of superior quality from the Mâconnais. From a small lieu dit, ‘Château London’ this wine is made from Chardonnay-Muscaté, a clone of Chardonnay, which gives the typical structure, poise and freshness of Chardonnay together with the aromatic expression of Muscat. Aged in 450 litre French low toasted oak barrels, 30% new for 10 months, it boasts aromas of white flowers, fleshy peach and fresh citrus fruits on the nose. The palate is rounded and layered with subtle notes of fresh pastry with concentrated fruits that are lifted by a fresh vibrant acidity on the finish.
Domaine Roc des Boutires Macon-Solutré 2018
Situated in the heart of the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation, Domaine du Roc des Boutires takes its name both from its proximity to the excellent ‘Aux Bouthières’ vineyard and the famous ‘Roche de Solutré’, a limestone escarpment which overlooks the commune of Solutré-Pouilly. ‘La Roche de Solutré’ is testament to the extraordinary geological richness of the surrounding vineyards and has become an emblem of the region, nicknamed ‘the Sphinx of the Mâconnais’ by the locals. Mâcon-Solutré is a very small appellation, measuring just 50 hectares in total. The fruit for this wine comes from 0.6 hectares planted across three, east-facing vineyards in Solutré-Pouilly. The vines are 45 years old and grow on predominantly clay soils at altitudes ranging between 210 - 430 metres above sea level, a position which lends great freshness to the finished wines. Fermented 60% in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks and 40% in three-year-old, French oak barrels this Mâcon-Solutré is expressive on the nose with notes of stone fruits, lemon zest and vanilla. It is richly textured on the palate and perfectly balanced with zesty acidity, which lifts the finish.
Domaine Corsin Saint-Veran Vieilles Vignes 2017
Domaine Corsin has established an excellent reputation for making wines in Saint Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé since 1864 and were among the first to label the wines as Pouilly-Fuissé and Mâcon blanc. Joseph Jacquet, the founder of the domaine, had only two hectares of Chardonnay when he started making wine. In 1971, with the advent of the Saint Véran appellation, Joseph’s grandson André acquired new vineyards in Davayé and Pouilly-Fuissé. Today, the domaine, now in its fifth generation, owns 13.6 hectares of Chardonnay in the Mâconnais. Domaine Corsin's Saint-Véran ‘Vieilles Vignes’ comes from a north-easterly vineyard, planted around the village of Davayé. The Chardonnay vines are 40 years old and grow on clay-limestone soils at an altitude of 200 metres, bringing excellent freshness to the finished wine. The wine aged for eight months on lees, with 35% in old oak vats and the remainder in stainless steel. A wine of great concentration and complexity, with layered notes of citrus and stone fruits and subtle notes of vanilla and toasted almond. On the palate it is richly textured with concentrated fruit flavours, well-balanced with mineral notes and zesty acidity.
Domaine la Soufrandise Pouilly-Fuissé ‘Clos Marie’ 2019
The Melin family have owned Domaine la Soufrandise, which is located in the heart of Fuissé, since the 1850s. When the lease ran out in 1986, Nicolas Melin and his wife Françoise decided to take over the domaine with no previous winemaking or viticulture experience. Nicolas learnt on the job while studying oenology at Dijon on the side. Today Nicolas is the 6th generation of the Melin family to run the estate. His attitude towards biodiversity and meticulous attention to detail, which stem from his background in engineering and forestry, have resulted in a switch to sustainable vineyard management. The Pouilly-Fuissé ‘Clos Marie’ is a walled single vineyard, located just next to the cellar. The vines are 31-53 years old and are planted on clay and limestone soils. The grapes are gently pressed and undergo a slow fermentation with wild yeasts, mainly in stainless steel, with 28% vinified in used French oak barrels. The blend is assembled after 10 months’ ageing on the lees and regular bâtonnage, resulting in an expressive and textured wine. The nose opens with concentrated aromas of tropical fruits and white flowers, with more subtle nuances of honeysuckle. The palate is fresh with crisp acidity and flavours of green apple.
Jean-Marc Burgaud Beaujolais Blanc 2018
Recently dubbed ‘Monsieur Côte du Py’ by Bourgogne Aujourd’hui magazine, Jean-Marc Burgaud also cultivates Chardonnay, from which he makes this Beaujolais Blanc. The Chardonnay comes from a one hectare site on clay soil in Lantignié, Jean-Marc’s hometown. The Gamay which was planted here previously didn’t produce the sort of wines Jean-Marc was looking for, so he decided it would be better suited to Chardonnay and in 2010 replanted the vineyard. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, Jean-Marc’s Beaujolais Blanc is expressive with notes of citrus and stone fruits on the nose. The palate is bright and lively with racy acidity giving this wine wonderful freshness.
Map of Southern Burgundy