Maybe it’s the fish stall at the Friday market in Lewes or the publicity about healthy omega 3 fats but either way I’m eating a lot more fish these days. When it comes to meat it’s increasingly a case of eat less but go for better quality. There’s a fantastic farm shop five minutes up the road with top quality free range pork and beef from rare breeds amongst many other good things.
The question is which wines to pair with all this lovely pork loin, free range chicken, sea bass, monkfish and scallops? I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is the ripe, sunshine whites from the Mâconnais region of southern Burgundy. There is a suppleness and complexity about these wines that just hits the spot with white meats, white fish dishes and semi soft cheeses. There is enough acidity too for them to work as an aperitif.
The Mâcon wine region is a patchwork of villages, sedimentary soils and terroirs with the best villages huddled together in the hilly limestone amphitheatre around Fuissé to the south just above Beaujolais. There is the regional appellation Mâcon AOC for mostly Chardonnay whites and a little Gamay and Pinot Noir red and rosé. A list of approved village names can be suffixed if you want more provenance – eg. Mâcon-Lugny, Mâcon-Fuissé, Mâcon-La Roche Vineuse. There is also the white only Mâcon-Villages AOC, a tighter area of vineyards spread over the region, although somewhat confusingly these wines are often not as good quality as some of the suffixed wines mentioned above. The five communes with the highest reputations have their own appellations – Pouilly-Fuissé AOC and nearby Pouilly-Vinzelles AOC and Pouilly-Loché AOC and also Viré-Clessé AOC and Saint-Véran AOC.
In the hands of a good producer like Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon, Bret Brothers, Domaine Gilles Morat, Gerald Talmard and Christophe Cordier you can really taste the differences between each village and appellation.
I have been particularly enjoying Christophe Cordier’s wines recently. He describes himself as a “haute couture negociant” buying in top quality grapes from excellent plots and making wine in a meticulous fashion in his modern, gravity fed winery. Wines are vinified by terroir, only natural yeasts are used for extra complexity and the wines spend time on their gross lees before being matured in barrel. Check out my list below left for other Macon wines to try this summer
Some suggested Macon wines for summer dishes:
- Mâcon-Villages 2014, Domaine Mallory et Benjamin Talmard – The Wine Society £8.95
- Mâcon “Aux Bois d’Allier”2014, Domaine Cordier – The Wine Society £10.95
- Mâcon-Villages 2014, DomaineFichet – Quaff Wines £12.99
- Mâcon-Milly – Lamartine 2015, Domaine Chene – South Downs Cellars £13.95
- Viré-Clessé Vieilles Vignes 2014, Christophe Cordier – Majestic £13.49
- Pouilly-Fuissé “En Carementran”2013, Bret Brothers – BBR £15.75
- Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine 2012, Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon – Domaine Direct, Tanners, BBR £18-£19
Jonny Gibson is the head tutor and owner of Sussex Wine School, an independent company that runs regular tastings and courses including WSET Levels 1-3 in Brighton, Lewes and Tunbridge Wells.