France: Burgundy

Mâconnais and northern Beaujolais

From Tournus to La Chapelle de Guinchay
By Michael Edwards

This Guide was last updated on 25 April 2011
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Main appellations

Mâcon

Basic appellation for red, white and rosé. About a quarter of the wines produced are red and mostly made with Gamay producing a very light wine, though there is about 7% Pinot Noir planted which makes a creditable red wine.

Mâcon Supérieur

Red, white and rosé wines which are required to be higher in alcohol than those from the simple Mâcon appellation.

Mâcon Villages

White wine only appellation which covers 26 villages – sometimes the name of the village replaces ‘Villages’. Can often be delicious and offer great value for money. Notable ‘villages’ include Fuissé, Solutré-Pouilly, Uchizy, Chardonnay and Lugny.

Viré-Clessé

White only appellation created in 1999 by combining the villages of Viré and Clessé.

Pouilly-Fuissé

White only appellation encompassing an area of 750ha. Dry wines made only with Chardonnay grapes and can be unoaked as well as oaked.

Pouilly-Loché and Pouilly-Vinzelles

Two neighbouring areas of Pouilly-Fuissé – again white only, producing Mâcon-style wines.

Saint Véran

Another white only appellation whose vineyards straddle the south of Mâconnais and Beaujolais. The name can be used instead of Beaujolais Blanc.

Beaujolais

The generic appellation – mainly red with a little rosé and white. Reds are exclusively made with Gamay. Half of the Beaujolais red is sold as Beaujolais Primeur or Beaujolais Nouveau (much of it of poor quality), being released on the third Thursday of November after the harvest.

Beaujolais Villages

Predominantly red, though a little white and rosé is made, from 38 villages in the northern half of Beaujolais. The name of the village can be added to the label if all the wine comes from there but as a number of these villages are crus in their own right there is no point marketing an otherwise unknown name. Beaujolais Villages may also be sold as Primeur or Nouveau, though the proportion is less.

Beaujolais Crus

Juliénas, St-Amour, Chénas, Moulin-­à-Vent, Fleurie and Chiroubles are six of the ten Beaujolais Cru villages making only red wine which is fuller bodied than other Beaujolais and can improve by ageing for a few years. These named village wines have earned their place by producing wines of often higher quality with lower yields from hillside vineyards.

Bourgogne

Generic appellation for basic Burgundy red, white and rosé in the Mâconnais from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. May also be called Bourgogne Grand-Ordinaire. The appellation Bourgogne Aligoté is specific to that grape variety.

Bougogne Passe-Tout-Grains

Appellation covering the whole Burgundy region for reds and a very few rosés producing early-drinking wines from a blend of Pinot Noir (minimum one-third) with Gamay. Quite important in the Mâconnais.

Crémant de Bourgogne

This appellation was created in 1975 for white and rosé to replace the unglamorous Mousseux de Bourgogne AC (now used only for red sparkling) and the quality continues to improve as more producers are cultivating grapes especially for sparkling wine. The wines must be made by the Traditional Method and aged on lees for minimum 12 months. This appellation is fairly important in the Mâconnais district of Burgundy.

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