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    Back to France Part 6: The Maconnais and Wines from Maison Matisco

    Let’s get back to France for a bit here, and continue the series on French wines which has been a theme throughout this year.? You can start the series by clicking here.? For this article, we’ll stay in Burgundy, but only barely.? Just north of Beaujolais, the Maconnais represents the southern border of what is considered Burgundy.? In fact, this region sort of overlaps Beaujolais a bit, and the distinction between them is not exactly a clear and rigid line.? In the Maconnais, Chardonnay is the predominant grape.? They do make some reds, some with Pinot Noir, but also some made from Gamay, just like the reds from Beaujolais to the south.? We’re going to focus on the whites here.


    Copyright: Society of Wine Educators

    As in the rest of Burgundy, wines from a a particular region vary from higher end, single vineyard or cru wines to blends from various vineyards around the region, which are likely to carry the general Macon AOC designation.? In the Maconnais there are 43 designated villages which can produce wine with the Macon-Villages designation, a step up from the more generic Macon AOC.? Finally, at the top of the pyramid here are the five villages which carry their own AOCs, the best known among them being Saint-Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé.? These wines are all Chardonnay, and well known around the world.? We have three wines in the house for review, which vary from the general Macon-Villages designation, to a Saint-Véran AOC and finally a single vineyard Saint-Véran.? All are from producer Maison Matisco, located in the southern tip of the Maconnais.

    All wines are courtesy of Cape Classics, as is the winery backgruond info which follows.? They have a growing portfolio with an emphasis on South Africa and France.? You can read more about their selections at www.capeclassics.com.

    Maison Matisco’s name pays tribute to its historical roots, as the city of Macon was called “Matisco” in the 2nd century BC and functioned as an active river port where boats traveled to and from Rome carrying amphorae of wine. Today, owners, winemakers and brothers, Richard and Stéphane Martin carry on the family business that their father, Maurice, started 50 years ago, founding the original family estate, Domaine de la Croix Senaillet in 1969. The winery has been certified organic “Agriculture Biologique”, since 2005. In 1992 Richard and Stéphane took over, bringing new ideas to the forefront but continuing their father’s work, maintaining the same legacy of passion for Burgundy and Matisco LandscapeChardonnay that the family has always encompassed. Maison Matisco is Richard’s and Stéphane’s new venture which has allowed them to broaden their selections and offer Burgundy wines from areas outside of Saint-Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé. This has enabled the introduction of diversity but still ensures the same level of expertise that fans have long become accustomed to. The Martins recognize that in the growing prestige and increased global interest in the white wines of Burgundy, some have a strong preference for specific terroirs or fidelity to a particular style of wine. They have founded Maison Matisco to meet this demand. Quality and consistency are the ideals that have guided their journey, as they produce craft wines which are expressive of their terroir.

    Here are the wines we have:

    2014 Maison Matisco Macon-Villages – all the grapes here are organically grown, harvested from three Maconnais villages: IMG_2055Chaintre, Pierreclos and Ozenay.? The three locations have north-northeast to south-southwest exposure, and the soils are mostly limestone rocks with some clay and sand.? Chardonnay thrives here.? Some of the grapes are from Maison Matisco’s vineyards, some from neighboring plots.? This vintage had an early spring and relatively optimal conditions throughout, resulting in an early September harvest.? The wine was fermented in stainless under strict temperature control, and after malolactic fermentation spent five months on the lees before bottling.? Our thoughts:

    This is a light, golden color, with a nose of citrus and lemon.? There’s a touch of something else which reminds me of quince.? On the palate there is richness from the time on the lees, and nice structure.? There’s some good body as well, and the wine drinks like a higher designation AOC wine.? It’s smooth, with good acid and a bright balance.? Very good juice here.? $19.99

    2014 Maison Matisco Saint-Véran – the grapes here are harvested from two sites in the villages of Davaye and Prisse, both of IMG_2054which border, and are divided by, Pouilly-Fuissé.? Jurassic era soils provide minerality.? Again the grapes are a mix of Maison Matisco owned fruit and neighboring vineyards.? After a temperature controlled fermentation and malolactic fermentation the wine was aged on its lees for six months in 500 liter oak barrels (no new oak).? It was bottled in late April 2015.? What did we think?

    Light straw in color, the wine presents a nose filled with fruit, sporting pears, citrus and maybe some truffle notes lurking beneath.? There is an overall earthy tone which is really great.? On the palate it is citrus dominated.? Great balance keeps this wine clean and refreshing throughout.? It’s a touch off dry at 2.8% residual sugar, but the acid is great and it is very fresh.? Clean and long this is an exceptionally well made wine.? $24.99? This goes on the Value List.

    2013 Maison Matisco Saint-Véran Sur la Carriere – the 2014 is out, but we received the earlier 2013 vintage of this wine.? IMG_2053The vineyard parcel which provides the grapes for this wine consist of just under one acre situated on the upper slopes of the village of Davaye, adjacent to the winery.? Average vine age is 45 years, with soil consisting of stones and clay on top of white limestone.? All grapes here are from the Martin family’s estate.? In this case fermentation was slow and cool in 500 liter oak barrels, all new.? After malolactic fermentation the wine rested on its less for seven months, being bottled in June, 2015.? Our impressions:

    This is a beautiful, rich, light golden color and is very brilliant.? The nose presents black currant bud, flowers, pear and some oak.? There are also some tropical notes.? The palate is rich with fruit and well integrated oak, as well as honey notes.? It’s dry, it’s clean, it has excellent balance and is another excellent wine from this producer.? $49.99, as we get into the higher end of the region from a price perspective.

    We’re hovering here on the very southern end of Burgundy, where, unlike most of the region, there is little Pinot Noir to be found.? Here the Chardonnay grape still holds sway.? That is all good as Maison Matisco delivers three excellent wines at various price points.? These are clean, exceptionally well made wines which will go great with seafood, shellfish and idle sipping.? We like idle sipping.

    We’ll explore this area a bit more with a piece on the wines and the institution that is Georges Duboeuf, coming later this summer.? Until then you can look for the wines reviewed here, as they are all worth trying.

    Map of Burgundy provided via the Society of Wine Educators: http://www.societyofwineeducators.org/

    To see the previous article in the Back to France series click here.

    A votre santé!

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