Domaine Marcel Couturier Macon-Loche Les Longues Terres 2015
A wine of exceptional poise and balance, it is both nervy and rich, creamy and earthy, full-bodied but nimble. A perfect all-around, versatile, crowd-pleaser that does not sacrifice complexity.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Marcel Couturier comes from a long line of vignerons in the southern Mâconnais, where he is just one of four producers estate bottling in Mâcon-Loché. Working his family's old Chardonnay vines, he began estate-bottling in 2005 and has quickly made a name for himself. Marcel likes to take his time, working intuitively, with respect for each terroir and resulting wine. Descending from many generations of farmers in the Mâconnais, he is patient to take his time in the vineyard, as well as the cellar, allowing each wine to reveal itself. Marcel stands out as a traditionalist with his old vines and high standards in an area that is quickly defining itself as a source of top-notch white Burgundy.
Marcel farms 11 hectares of vineyards total in multiple different appellations: Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Loché, Saint-Véran, Mâcon-Loché, Mâcon-Vinzelles, and Mâcon Blanc. Most of his vines are quite old with many parcels exceeding 70 years of age, with his "young" vines averaging 30 years in age.
His farming is meticulous, employing only organic methods, he plows the soil constantly to curtail weeds and believes the hard, poor clay soils greatly benefit from the aeration and introduction of organic materials. In the winery, the approach is equally hands-off. Marcel is notable for being a non-interventionist in the cellar, utilizing native yeast fermentations deep in his cold cellar in Loché. Marcel never rushes his fermentations by warming the cellar, both alcoholic and malolactic fermentations occur on their schedules in traditional Burgundy barrels. His wines offer delicacy and aromatic complexity as a result.
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.