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Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau Macon-Villages Le Carruge 2016
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 practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.