[TravelBlog] Post Twenty-Two: Maconnais, Chalonnaise

10:42PM  |  Beaune  |  Burgundy

Last day in Burgundy. We head south on the highway towards Macon, back to the region where we once spent a year living. The softly rolling hills are covered in wheat, forests, and vines, and our car dips gently as we rise and fall with the rhythm of the countryside.

Our first tasting is in Verzé, for pure Chardonnay whites of exceptional clarity: bright lemon fruit, honey, almonds — all from a young organic winemaker who shows a remarkable passion for his craft. He takes us into his vines to show us the slope and quality of the soil. “Why make wine in Puligny Montrachet, where it’s flat?” he asks, giving us a quick smile. “Much better to make it here…” We taste his 2014s en cuve which are full and rich and bursting with life — a third exciting vintage in a row from our latest producer in the Maconnais.

In the late morning we drive north to Givry, to revisit a producer we knew during our time here in the 90s. The son has taken the reigns and shows a real knack for winemaking — rustic, hearty pinot noir with tons of character and impressive concentration.

After lunch we visit our producer for Crémant de Bourgogne, and taste through an exceptionally fine vintage 2012. Sparkling wines made of pinot noir, chardonnay, aligoté, and gamay — all well-made wines in their own right, with or without the bubbles. In the afternoon we pick up our final Burgundian provisions, and prepare to depart demain.

Dinner is at the Petit Paradis, a local favorite — fresh tuna tartare, local Charolais beef with époisses sauce, and salted caramel cream. Chablis et puis Champagne tomorrow.