The Mâconnaise, Burgundy

Oct 20, 2023by Andrew Lowry

Known for its exceptional, value-driven wines, this region borders Beaujolais to the south and produces some of the finest white wines in the world. In this blog, we will delve into the different AOCs in the Mâconnaise and highlight the best Domaines that are making waves in each of these appellations.

What are the AOCs in the Mâconnaise?

The Mâconnaise is home to 7 AOCs, each with its unique characteristics and terroir. These AOCs include:

  • Mâcon
  • Mâcon-Villages 
  • Viré-Clessé
  • Pouilly-Fuissé
  • Pouilly-Vinzelles
  • Pouilly-Loché
  • St-Véran

All of the above AOCs produce white wine only from the Chardonnay grape except the broadest AOC, Mâcon, which can be a red, white, or rosé wine produced from Chardonnay, Gamay, Aligoté, Melon de Bourgogne, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and/or Pinot Noir, but Macon Pinot Noir is rare because producers can label it with the more well known Bourgogne appellation and usually do.

Best Domaines in the Mâconnaise

Pictured: Olivier Merlin, La Roche-Vineuse; Photo courtesy of Olivier Merlin

When it comes to producing exceptional wines, the Mâconnaise is home to some of the most renowned Domaines in Burgundy. Here are a few that stand out:

1. Domaine Robert Denogent

Known for their meticulous attention to detail, Domaine Robert Denogent produces outstanding wines that showcase the unique terroir of the Mâconnaise. Their Pouilly-Fuissé wines are particularly noteworthy, with their rich and complex flavors.

2. Domaine Guerrin et Fils

Domaine Guerrin et Fils is a family-owned winery that has been producing exceptional wines for generations. Their Mâcon-Villages wines are highly regarded for their elegance and finesse, making them a favorite among wine enthusiasts.

3. Domaine Thibert Père et Fils

With a focus on sustainable viticulture, Domaine Thibert Père et Fils produces organic wines that truly reflect the essence of the Mâconnaise. Their Mâcon wines are known for their vibrant fruit flavors and crisp acidity.

4. Domaine des Gerbeaux

Domaine des Gerbeaux is a small, family-run winery that produces exceptional wines from their vineyards in Pouilly-Loché. Their wines are characterized by their purity and elegance, making them a hidden gem in the Mâconnaise.

5. Domaine Saumaize-Michelin

Domaine Saumaize-Michelin is renowned for its Pouilly-Vinzelles wines, which are highly sought after by wine connoisseurs. Their wines exhibit a perfect balance of fruit, minerality, and acidity, making them a true representation of the Mâconnaise terroir.

6. Olivier Merlin

Olivier Merlin is championing wines out of the La Roche Vineuse village just north of Pouilly-Fuissé. Olivier Merlin's wines are known for their elegance, complexity, and balance. He believes in allowing the grapes to express themselves fully, without overpowering them with excessive oak or manipulation. This minimalist approach allows the true character of the vineyard to shine through in every bottle.

7. Guffens-Heynen

Over the years, Domaine Guffens-Heynen has garnered international acclaim for its exceptional wines. The estate has received numerous awards and accolades, solidifying its reputation as one of the top producers in Burgundy. Wine enthusiasts and collectors alike seek out these wines for their exceptional quality and ability to age gracefully.

The 7 AOC's of the Mâconnaise

La Roche de Solutré above the village of Pouilly | © /

When exploring the Mâconnaise wine region for yourself, there are 7 appellations you will find and all are worth trying so you can really get to know the region and find the style of Chardonnay that you like best! 

  1. Mâcon AOC: Since most of the producers in the Mâconnaise can qualify for the better Mâcon-Village designation, these wines may be in short supply, and we recommend upping for a Mâcon-Village anyways.
  2. Mâcon-Villages AOC: This white wine is a step up in quality from the regular Mâcon appellation, offering more complexity and depth. 27 villages qualify as Mâcon-Village. Here's a link to Wine-Searcher if you want to read up on all the Villages.
  3. Viré-Clessé AOC: This appellation was created in 1999. The two villages, Viré and Clessé were consistently far superior to their other Mâcon-Village counterparts so it was decided to group them in their own AOC with slightly stricter production rules.
  4. Pouilly-Fuissé AOC: The best wines in the Mâconnaise (and Burgundy) are consistently from this appellation and so was recently awarded 22 premier cru climat (or vineyard) designations in 2020. The land is characterized by rolling limestone hills topped with clay that produce some of the best Chardonnays in the world. Quality and type vary widely, though. Some producers make wine more akin to the oaked, world-famous white burgundies of the Cote d'Or, and some produce leaner fruit-forward wines from 100% stainless steel. See below for the Premier Cru vineyards organized by the communes that make up Pouilly-Fuissé.
  5. Pouilly-Vinzelles AOC: One of Pouilly-Fuissé's two satellite appellations known for its elegance and finesse, the white wines from here showcase the best of the Mâconnaise terroir.
  6. Pouilly-Loché AOC: One of Pouilly-Fuissé's two satellite appellations; a hidden gem, wine from here offers a perfect balance of fruit, minerality, and acidity.
  7. St-Véran AOC: This appellation wraps around the outskirts of Pouilly-Fuissé. The villages of Chânes, Chasselas, Davayé, Leynes, Prissé, Saint-Vérand, Solutré-Pouilly, and St-Amour-Bellevue qualify for this appellation. These wines will be much leaner due to stainless steel fermentation than the wines coming from the nearby Pouilly-Fuissé. This appellation was created in 1977 to distinguish themselves from the "lesser" Mâcon-Villages AOC.

The Premier Cru Vineyards of Pouilly-Fuissé AOC

In the Village of Chaintré:
1. Le Clos de Monsieur Noly
2. Les Chevrières
3. Aux Quarts
4. Le Clos Reyssier
In the Village of Fuissé:
5. Le Clos
6. Les Brulés
7. Les Ménétrières
8. Les Reisses
9. Les Vignes Blanches
10. Les Perrières
11. Vers Cras (shared)
In the Village of Solutré-Pouilly:
12. La Frérie
13. Le Clos de Solutré
14. Au Vignerais
15. En Servy
16. Aux Bouthières
17. Aux Chailloux
18. Pouilly
11. Vers Cras (shared)
In the Village of Vergisson:
19. Les Crays
20. La Maréchaude
21. Sur la Roche
22. En France

The World Atlas of Wine 8th Edition, Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
The New Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia, Tom Stevenson, edited by Orsi Szentkiralyi