Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau Macon-Villages Clos St Pancras 2017
Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau is a small estate run by two talented farmers and winemakers, Frantz Chagnoleau and his wife Caroline Gon (winemaker at Héritiers du Comte Lafon). Frantz has a degree in oenology and cut his teeth working for Olivier Merlin in the Mâconnais. Caroline holds two degrees in agricultural engineering and oenology; she also worked at Newton Vineyards in Napa Valley.
The vineyard work is arguably among the finest we have seen, with organic farming and many vineyards worked by horse. Frantz and Caroline believe that minimal intervention, including the use of indigenous yeast, is the best way to express the nuances of each unique terroir. Harvest is done completely by hand on a plot by plot basis, allowing each vine to achieve the appropriate balance of sugar and acidity. The wines are mostly aged in large, used French oak. This is a lineup of pure, terroir driven Mâconnais wines.
Crisp, balanced and delicately floral, Chardonnays from the Macon Villages are often made in the unoaked style and offer a magnificent sampling of what white Burgundy has to offer—without years of waiting and high dollar price tags.
Within the greater Mâconnais, the Macon Villages wines are those within a few defined and optimally situated villages, either noted by the name Mâcon-Villages or as Mâcon followed by the name of the particular village, for example Viré, Lugny, Azé, Bray or Burgy.
Commonly vinified in stainless steel or glass-lined concrete vats, these are mostly intended for consumption within a year or two of the vintage, though a few serious Mâconnais producers have turned their focus to smaller yields and barrel fermentation and maturation. Regardless, you can count on Macon Villages whites to be fresh and fruity with citrus and melon flavors, and aromas of white roses, honeysuckle, lemon-grass or fennel.
This is a great region to explore if you already like California, Australian or Chilean Chardonnay.
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.