Christophe Cordier Macon Vieilles Vignes 2015
Christophe Cordier is the third generation of his family to work the vines of southern Burgundy. His father, Roger Cordier, established the current family estate in 1968 in the village of Fuissé with only five hectares of vineyards, and Christophe joined him in 1987, determined to create great wines from the terroirs of the Maconnais. In an area known for simple, over-produced wines he has been one of the rare pioneers to study the soils and farm, vinify and bottle the best terroirs of the region.
Today, he farms and manages 30 hectares in clay and limestone soils, spread over 100 individual parcels and nine villages, which he bottles into 22 cuvees for Domaine Cordier and 10 for Christophe Cordier. All but one of his parcels is planted to Chardonnay. Eighteen of his holdings are situated in lieux-dits, with ten in AOC Pouilly-Fuissé alone.
The new winery, constructed in 2012, is impeccably kept and entirely temperature-controlled. Equipped with gravity-fed, stainless steel decanting tanks, two aging cellars for the barrels and one for foudres, both the space and modern equipment allow Christophe to meet his high standards for making “grands vins.”
These are the fun, fruit-driven and lively Chardonnays of white Burgundy, often offering some fantastic values and options that you don’t have to cellar. Flavors range from fresh green apple and lemon to melon or pineapple; some of the best are fleshy and mineral driven or balanced by a light touch of oak.
Mâconnais Chardonnay may have the weight of their more serious Côte de Beaune sisters, but not quite the refinement. Still, this appellation is one of the best ways to jump from California Chardonnay to something new and begin to understand white Burgundy.
The Mâconnais region is warmer and drier than the rest of Burgundy to its north (Côte d’Or) and has a landscape of rolling hills and farmland interspersed among vineyards. The region produces a lot of Chardonnay—Viré-Clessé and Pouilly-Fuisse are among the best—and a very small amount of red wine from Gamay and Pinot Noir. The soils of Mâconnais remain limestone dominant like in the Côte d’Or, making it a wonderful spot for Chardonnay to thrive. Gamay's home of Beaujolais lies just to the south.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.