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Artisans-Vignerons of the Mâconnais

2015-03-262
Tasted 26th March with all the vignerons listed below, in Viré and Milly-Lamartine.

Like last year, the core of my visits in the Mâcon remains the formidable collection of producers who operate under the banner of the Artisans-Vignerons. They should never be considered as the ‘average’ for Mâcon producers, rather wines that are often as good as you can get – that said, the do make great benchmarks.

For my tasting of 2013s we followed a similar format to last year, with each producer having just 10 minutes to present two wines before the next producer took their place. This year it was 26 producers versus the 24 of last year, and one more modification was that we made the tastings in two locations, not the three of last year – that certainly worked, as I’m sure we finished one hour earlier than last year! One of the producers noted that this year it wasn’t so much like speed-dating, rather the waiting room at the doctors 😉
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Pascal Pauget
Here they have sold some 4 hectares of the domaine, but still have the bottles from 13 and will remain en place until all are sold still – It’s a period of transition as the domaine was 7 hectares – but still 1 hectare remains for the following 2 wines:

2013 Macon Blanc Terroir de Prety
From rose limestone – “a small harvest but a pretty vintage.” A 0.25 ha parcel.
Has some faintly oaked depth and a pretty freshness above – actually it’s a faint reduction that smells like oak as there’s only tank elevage. Fine, lithe direct and intense – really yum! Really fine intensity in mid-palate and into the finish. Excellent – a great first wine! Just a hint citrus and perfumed in the length. Super!
2013 Macon Rouge Terroir de Prety
Not really ready for selling before the summer. A gamay based wine, bottled in August from 0.70 ha. ‘Best decanted and drunk in large glasses.’ Eleveage in barrel.
A comforting sweetness but freshly presented with a faint pepper note. A little padding to the texture but a fine drive of energy through the centre and like the white, super intensity and fine acidity. A fresh burst of flavour in the mid-palate and into the finish with just a little faint licorice-cherry impression. Very tasty wine and really persistent too – impressively so… Yum! This is very faintly reduced, but aromatically has little to do with Beaujolais – destemmed and no carbonic maceration and with pigeage in open wooden fermenters.

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Guillot-Broux
Patrice was pouring the two wines; La Myotte pinot noir planted in time of their grand-father and Les Combettes blanc from a 7 hectares of vines with woods bought parcel by parcel over years. All are deep ploughed to bring the maximum minerality. Elevage sur-lie and 12 months in barrel, just one racking after malo, with some batonnage until malo. Patrice brought some of the techniques from his work with in the 1980s with Domaine Michelot in Meursault. “The wines are quite mineral, so typically when they are ready, we already have no more in the cellars. The produce of vines less than 15 years old go into a Mâcon cuvée. We have even used 18 month elevage, but with the short vintages where in the last three they lost the equivalent of 1 whole vintage – they needed wine, so have reverted to 12 months elevage in the last few vintages…”

2012 Les Combettes Blanc
Deep, quite some weight (vines planted in the 1990s) with white mushroom and vanilla notes too. Becomes more of a creamy citrus in the glass – and ever prettier. Lush, silky, fat but with a fine line of acidity – this really lifts as you head to the mid-palate with fine complexity and minerality too. Big wine that becomes more and more interesting the longer you hold it in your mouth.

2012 La Myotte Rouge
Medium, medium-pale colour. (100 % destemmed.) Pretty and elegant fresh red fruit and flowers. Fresh, finely intense, growing width of flavour too – excellent mid-palate intensity and fine persistence too.
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Domaine Émilian Gillet
Émilian was showing 2011s as they are the current vintage to sell, 13 won’t be commercialised for two years. All work in vines the same but they use different domaine names for different soil times. Manually harvested with best possible maturity at harvest.

2011 Viré-Clessé Quintaine
Wide, textured, slightly comforting nose almost a quince note supporting. Wide, decently fresh and with a really impressive complexity and really super length too. It’s not as ultimately focused as most 12 and 13 but really is super-engaging.

Domaine Bongrain
Marne blanches here instead of limestone:
2009 Viré-Clessé cuvée J.Thevenet
”Just now starting to commercialise for me a grand millesime that’s complex one of the best since 2005.”
Big aromatic, again a hint of quince with a fine high-toned impression too. A direct line of fresh flavour that slowly pads out with a little texture but really not a wine of fat, rather intense ripe fruit – maybe sugar-soaked lemons – again very complex. And super length.
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Domaine Guillemot-Michel
Pierrette Michel pouring. Bottled in May 13. A difficult vintage so it was a small harvest. We are a long-time biodynamic, family domaine of 6 hectares from the hillside of Quintaine. Many of our vines are about 60 years old. Cuvées are vinified in concrete – we use no wood at all at the domaine.

2013 Viré-Clessé Quintaine
Fresh, faint herb, faint honey too plus a pretty freshness with a faint salinity. Lithe, gorgeous in the mouth, full of energy and like a waterfall on your tongue – a slightly silky waterfall. Beautiful flavour of ripe lemons, salted lemons. Then a block of long-finishing flavour. Really a super wine!
2011 Viré-Clessé Quintaine
Fresh and deep aromas combined, clean and pretty too. Seemingly a little more width, perhaps a hint more CO2 too, but very fine intensity – lovely mouth-watering, lingering flavour. Maybe even a bit better than the 13 today. Both wines really super!

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Domaine de Thalie
Peter Grierszewski serving. The domaine has 3×1.5 hectares, each of chardonnay, gamay and pinot noir.

2011 Macon-Bray À June (for second girl)
Early october harvest, quite abundant and clean with good maturity. This always gives a little less yield, west-facing, 500 litre barrels. Difficult with marne as the roots spread out near the surface, but still work the vines as deep as possible.
Deeper colour. Deep, concentrated aromas, faintly mushroom with quince confiture. Silky, slightly mushroomy, lots of minerality and clean, fresh ripe fruit. The finish is bright, mineral and just a little salty. Very good!

2013 Macon-Bray Rouge
An assemblage of multiple parcels; gamay on 3 different plots, granitic, marne and limestone. Whole clusters used but only ‘semi’-carbonic maceration. Bottled about Easter to keep as much fruit as possible. Different parcels have separate fermentations and elevage in barrel – only assembled before bottling.
Medium, medium-plus colour. A beautiful bright fruit with fresh attack. A direct line of flavour that’s hard to keep in your mouth, but slowly that flavour widens and adds a little more creamy dimension. Saline and floral too in the finish – the tannin is hardly noticeable. The nose gets bigger and more impressive in the glass.
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Domaine Saumaize-Michelin
Roger was pouring the wines. ‘UWe use a tractor of less than 1 tonne, and do everything to optimise the soil.’ On 2013 Roger notes ”The climate wasn’t helpful, indeed it was complicated, lots of coulure and millerandes – I’ve never seen it so bad – strong mildew pressure but fortunately no hail. We started harvesting in La Roche but stopped as I wasn’t happy with maturity but a couple of days later after a fohn wind the grapes developed very quickly – turning almost rose-brown and falling from the vines.”

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé les Ronchevats
On argilles.
Fresh, floral and interesting with a little creamy oak support. Fine silky texture but with attack and a really impressive width of mid palate and finishing flavour. A round but beautifully balanced wine – plenty of barrel creaminess though.

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Clos Sur la Roche
Here is white limestone with only about 30cm of soil before the mother rock. Both parcels south-facing, la La Roche a little lower altitude.
Fresh, less cream. Also direct, less padding – really mouth-watering and fine. A more mineral impression. Still some cream flavour, but really a nicer expression of flavour. Wide and discreetly flavourful in the length but long…
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Domaine Saint Barbe
Jean-Marie Chaland was pouring his wines.

2013 Macon Terres Rouges
Old vine gamay.
Medium, medium-plus colour. A nose of herby attack but I like it very much. Also a little herb in the flavour – actually quite a lot. More fruit flavour comes in the mid-palate and into the finish, quite long – a very mineral wine. (‘12 is just about opening now.’)

2012 Viré-Clessé La Perrière
From the second hillside of Viré, which has a base of more recent limestone.
A deep, indeed massive nose of ripe, honeyed fruit. Round but with a fine acidity and slowly growing minerality. Tastes a little natural but is full of energy and interest.

2011 Viré-Clessé la Perrière
Aromatic is much tighter, faintly herbed but with an implied tight weight of something below. Here is a similar intensity but a more direct line and impression of shape. – really lovely from the mid-palate onwards – complex, mouth-watering and delicious with a hint of salinity. Will be very yum, currently only half yum!
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Domaine Julien Guillot
Julien (cousin of Patrice) couldn’t make it, but sent two wines:

2013 Clos de Vignes du Maynes, Macon-Cruzille ‘Aragonite’
Deeper colour. Faint quince and a fresh nose becomes ever prettier in the glass. Bright, fresh, with a little gas – again a quince style fruit and a little tarte-tartin and a pretty finishing acidity.

2013 Bourgogne (Pinot Noir)
Medium, medium-pale. Enveloping ripe strawberry, faintly smoky with a suggestion of something floral. A prickle of gas, but here is a fresh, clean, honest pinot of good style , the tannin is only an anecdote of dryness. Fine acidity without any sharpness. Very good
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Domaine Jacques Saumaize
Jacques and Anthony were taking turns to pour!

2013 Mâcon-Buisonières Montbrison
From the limit of the appellation – Pouilly-Fuissé is only 3 metres away. West facing vines. Elevage in 400 litre barrels. Averaging 30hl/ha in 2013.
Modest but fresh and pretty nose. Lithe, growing intensity, discreet wood – slowly becoming less discreet. Very tasty wine.

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé la Marechaude
Normal size barrels.
Fresh, fine herbs – with lovely tension. Fresh in the mouth, fine energy too – the flavour increases but this time with less oak. A wine of finesse rather than oak – really excellent, with nice length too – modestly intense but persistent.

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Domaine Delphine et Sébastien Boisseau
Sébastien was pouring.

2013 Mâcon-Bray 113 La Vigne Mouton Clos Rebetiot
Guess how old the vines are? Despite their age it was a correct rendement in 13. Mouton is the name of the parcel.
Fresh but very pretty and precise fruit aromas. – really lovely. Glorious complex, fresh flavour – a slowly growing minerality and faint salinity. Not a massive wine but a fine and persistent wine. Really excellent.

2013 Mâcon-Bray ‘Descente Dangerous’
On rose granite like Beaujolais – here young vines gamay but a massale selection. Whole cluster carbonic maceration with very low sulfur.
A modest nose but with depth and interest that’s faintly herbed but with ripe fruit underpinning. Another wine that’s about complexity and interest, rather than impact – I like it very much. Swallow and you have a wide line of persistent flavour. Very good – very yum!
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Domaine Olivier Merlin
Olivier also couldn’t make it but sent his wines and even sent some notes:

2013 Mâcon La Roche Vineuse Vieilles Vignes
12 months in barrel 6 in tank, bottling done.
A good freshness over a weight of something ripe – very attractive. Big and bright – lovely mouth-watering freshness and good energy a direct line of flavour, no overdone oak – a wine that’s really super – very tasty.
2013 Saint-Véran Le Grand Bussière Vieilles Vignes
Still in tank.
Fresh and a little mineral, here with a suggestion of creamy oak. More intense and concentrated, no less energy indeed a super mouth-watering flavour. There’s plenty of creamy oak to finish, but it’s still possible to focus on the great flavour here with a hint of salinity too – still yum. Nice minerality in the finish too – this will be super when the oak fades!

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Domaine Nicolas Maillet
Nicolas pouring.

2013 Mâcon-Verzé
Long, 10 month fermentation, no wood. Bottled just before the harvest.
Fresh and floral a really nice aromatic intensity. Bright and fresh with a super insinuating intensity and complexity. A long line of flavour, finely persistent and, importantly, very tasty too!

2013 Mâcon-Verzé Le Chemin Blanc
Vines of 80 years age.
A very discreet hint of pretty reduction and a fine, clean fresh nose – full of interest. Again a little gas, but direct and really another intensity here – but the fruit remains pretty – almost a fresh pear underneath – almost a hint of dryness of tannin too – lovely.

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Domaine Château des Rontets
With Claire and Fabio Gazeau-Montrasi. Showing 2 wines from a Clos with only 15 cm of soil over the limestone.

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Clos Varandon
About 40-year-old vines, bottled just 1 week ago. A mix of normal sized and large barrels.
A modest note of reduction, slowly emerging lemon notes too. Ouf! This is intense and direct. – super mouth-watering flavour with just a hint of flowers arriving….

2012 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Birbettes
Bottled end of July from the oldest vines of the Clos. Elevage in barrels.
Softer, clean lemon notes, a mix of perfume and barrique too. A similar flavour profile but with a different shape starting narrower but becoming intense and wider very quickly, fine mineral and super long. – ouf!

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Denis Jeandeau
With Denis.

2013 Viré-Clessé
Bottled in September half elevage in barrel, half in tank.
Pretty citrus fruit above a creamier base, just a hint floral too. Wide and with a fine energy – insinuating flavour that continues to release from your gums after you swallow. Last drops are very perfumed very aromatic.

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Secret Mineral
Just under the rock of Solutre. All barrel vinification and only 27 hl/ha.
Très parfumé – really. A hint of gas another wine that really widens across the tongue – there’s a fine and intense mouth-watering fruit, no obvious oak notes. This is super.

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Domaine Barraud
Tasted with Julien. He notes that 2013 delivered 30-35 hl/ha and only due to the poor flowering.

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé La Verchère
60-year-old vines on a limestone soil with quite deep soil. Bottled in November.
Perfumed, almost a little squeaky/soapy clean. Round, a little softness to the texture, but there’s a good mouth-watering and slowly widening palate. Just a little stony impression in the finishing flavours too. Some richness but with balance too.

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Crays
A sunny spot but sheltered by the rock. Also bottled in November.
Again strongly perfumed, with a little fresh honey below (floral honey). In the mouth it’s less rich and more direct – just a little gas perturbing the texture but the flavour grows well. Persistent, tasty finish. A very good wine!
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Cécile et Laurent Tripoz
With Cécile.

2012 Mâcon-Vinzelles Les Morandes
Very limestone, lots of rock not too deep soil.
Aromas jump from the glass – a herbed citrus impression. Lithe, wide, high-toned fruit, growing intensity – more and more impressive in the finishing flavours. A wine that grows on me – ripe but fresh. Nicer and nicer – yum… Nicely mineral impression too.

Crémant de Bourgogne, nature
Do everything by hand themselves, with a mix of gyropalettes and riddling. No dosage, all 24 months sur lattes chardonnay.
A fine depth of aroma, not so high- toned. Most a little pear tart bellow. Lively, again perhaps a little fresh pear fruit nicely lingers nicely. A fresh clean and tasty wine!
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Domaine Pierre Vessigaud

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes
An assembly of multiple parcels.
Perfumed aromas, but with a deeper, slightly tight register below – the perfume grows. Round, very modestly rich, not at all modestly flavoured. An ever-widening flavour perspective and fine supporting acidity. Lovely persistence too – excellent.

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Vers Agnières
In bottle two weeks from a single parcel.
A tighter nose, more faintly perfumed with a citrus base. A little less rich, more detail and complexity. – not super intense, but really engaging – indeed delicious!

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Domaine du Clos des Rocs
With Olivier Giroux.

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé les Murs
Bottled at the end of october. Usually 14-18 months of elevage.
A little perfume and a little honey. A lithe, mouth-watering palate, not super intense but with lots of interest. Discreetly persistent. Yum.

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Clos des Rocs Monopole
12 months in barrel plus another 6 in tank. In bottle just one month.
A similarly discreet nose with faint perfume and a tighter fruit below – it’s very inviting. More intense and direct, but still not a forceful wine, rather a delicious wine that the more time you give it, the more you will find. I like this very much.
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Domaine La Soufrandière
Jean-Guillaume says he’s very satisfied with 2013, despite low yields, virtually all down to the flowering.

2013 Pouilly-Vinzelles
32-45 year-old vines, one part in-barrel elevage. 11 months total elevage, bottled in August
Faint perfume and a faint reductive impression below. A little richness, but a lot of energy and fine mouth-watering flavour. Big growth of flavour and a nice hint of salt in the finish. Delicious!

2013 Pouilly-Vinzelles Climat les Quarts Cuvée Millerandes
80 year-old vines that always produce millerande grapes. 11 months in wood and another 6 in tank.
A little attractive agrumes reduction. A little finer texture and a little more weight of intensity too, otherwise very similar to that last wine! Really insinuation flavour, and equally delicious.

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Chateau de Lavernette
Wines poured by Xavier.

2013 Beaujolais Blanc Les Vignes de la Roche
Bottled at the end of January, elevage in concrete tanks with lees, from a south-east facing argilo-calcaire hillside – touching on Pouilly-Fuissé – it’s the same valley. In the commune of Chaintré, but still Beaujolais despite a Mâconnais soil rather than granite.
Fresh open. Also fresh in the mouth – am I saying delicious too often? – because it is. Not super complex and concentrated but tasty and just a little mineral and saline in the finish.

2012 Pouilly-Fuissé Vers Châne
The 2013 hasn’t yet finished it’s alcoholic fermentation, the malo is done though. This from the part of Fuissé that looks to Chaintré. A later ripening, higher altitude, east facing hillside. 22 months of elevage in barrels.
Deep nose, plenty of oak showing at this age. Despite the richness of the nose, this is wide, fresh and very complex – still some oak components on view, but less pronounced and with a nice salinity. Hopefully the wood will fade as the base wine is simply lovely!
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Domaine Robert-Denogent
Wines poured by Antoine Robert.

2012 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Riesses
65-year-old vines, bottled in September after almost 30 months in barrel.
Fresh and clean, modestly oaked – a very inviting nose. Rich but infused with mineral and with a growing mouth-watering flavour. Impressive wine with both aromatic and flavour accents of oak, but very good nonetheless 😉

2010 Mâcon-Solutre Clos de Bertillones
I’m still enjoying my last magnums of the 2007 at home!
Quite deep yellow (24 months in oak.) A baked apple aroma, but fresh and full of flavour on the palate – I have the impression that there is this faintly oxidised apple component but it remains remarkably tasty.
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Domaine Cornin
Romain Cornin was presenting his wines. He notes that Luckily for the domaine the vines were ready just before the big rain – they literally finished on the Saturday – in the rain – but still much less juice than they would have wished. About 32 hl/ha for Mâcon, less for most of the others.

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Plessys
In Chaintré, east hillside 60% elevage in demi-muids of 600 litres, the rest in normal barrels.
A little perfume, also a little oak. Good freshness and width too. – lovely mouth-watering flavour. The oak remains only an accent – long and quite big in the finish, faintly sweet too. Very good.

2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Chevrières
Above Chaintré on meagre soil, a red soil. Elevage in demi-muids, bottled last week, like the last. Only 300 metres from last vines but with a totally different soil.
Less perfume, more fruit, again accented with oak. Really super combination of richness and mouth-watering flavour. A little perfume to finish with, and it’s a good persistent finish. Fine!
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Les Héretiers du Comte Lafon
Caroline Gon pouring. On 2013 Caroline notes that they had low yields due to horrible flowering, small grapes – their 30 harvesters had to go fast!

2013 Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine
Quite high vines for the Mâconnais, east-facing with not much soil to the mother rock. 2 thirds in foudres, the rest in a mix of 5 and 600 litre demi-muids.
A little reduction brings some agrumes. Also some reduction in the mouth but only to accent gorgeous, sweet, mouth-watering flavors. Mouth-watering, lingering flavour – super yum.

2013 Viré-Clessé
Very old vines, 60+ year-old on a mid-slope of east-facing vines. Eight separate parcels all raised separately, partly in foudre and demi-muids.
More floral than perfumed. Again a very, very fine balance of acidity and weight of flavour – lovely interplay of mouth-watering flavours. Again some reduction, but fainter than the last. Discreetly long too. Yum!
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Frank Chagnoleau
Encore with Caroline Gon.

2013 Saint-Véran Pré Jaux
On a red iron oxide soil.
A discreet but prettily floral nose. A little richness and a more mineral acidity. Long finishing – I could use words like delicate and elegant, but I prefer delicious!

2013 Saint-Véran La Roche
About 100 meters away, almost turning a little south, harvested later.
A more heavily floral nose with a strong accent of oak notes – give it time in the glass and it becomes lighter and fresher. Less overt richness to start but it grows and grows – yet, the acidity is super, it really carries this wine beautifully. An extra strength of flavour in the finish and it’s a wide finish too. Really fine – yum!

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