From Tournus to La Chapelle de Guinchay
By Michael Edwards
This Guide was last updated on 25 April 2011
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Jean Thévenet, a gentle man in his mid sixties, is the father of fine winemaking in the Mâcon Villages of Southern Burgundy. Since the middle 1960s, Jean has taught the outside world that Mâcon can be so much more than a cheerful inexpensive white Burgundy made in great volume. Not that there is anything avant garde about his approach. In fact, Jean follows a sensitively adapted form of classic white Burgundy making, in particular giving his wines the hand-crafted attention one associates more with the Côte de Beaune. He uses a combination of his father’s old oak foudres and modern vats to make the wines, always insistent that a moderate temperature during the first days is very important. He also strongly believes that fermentation should take place in its own time, which may be as long as six to eight months. This unhurried approach depends on excellent grapes. Jean’s best known domaine is La Bon Gran, located on the mid-slopes of Quintaine, the hamlet closest to the Saône. Harvesting takes place when the grapes are fully ripe, often as late as mid-October, with quite a few of them showing a touch of noble rot created by the autumnal mists rising from the river. Particularly recommended, the Bon Gran Cuvée E J Thévenet is a great focused wine, fresh yet golden, all lemon and honey.
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