Shopping for wine from the Côte d’Or is a bit like looking for a frock in Harvey Nichols. The place is full of beautiful dresses, couture dresses, dresses by hot new designers, classic labels and by some of the best designers in the world – chock full of gorgeous frocks waiting for you to take your pick. Simple? Yes. Great place for a bargain? Not so much…
The Côte d’Or is home to some of the best wines in all of Burgundy - Montrachet, Meursault and Corton Charlemagne all reside in this golden area. Wonderful wines? Yes. Full of bargains? Not so much… If you want Burgundy that represents great value for money you might have to do some hunting around and the Mâconnais region is a great place to do it in. The Mâconnais is to the south of the Côte d’Or. It’s much bigger and much more diverse but if you look hard enough you’ll find some absolute gems. This is wonderful hunting ground for great value and great quality wines that don’t come with hefty price tags.
So where to start searching? Well, there are 2 things to be looking out for - great producers and the best small areas within the larger region. Marie-Pierre Manciat-Poncet is just the kind of producer worth looking for. She is carefully managing her own vineyards and making wine using the best quality techniques from her top notch fruit. Prior to her taking over the family vineyards in 2003, Marie-Pierre’s parents had been selling their grapes to a local negociant who make wine from grapes purchased from a group of growers – a common scenario in the wine world particularly where parcels of land are divided amongst the children of the owner. Plots get ever smaller and it becomes impossible to make a living from such tiny holdings.
Marie Pierre’sparents both come from vinegrowing families and were able to combine their land, creating an opportunity for a passionate winemaker in the family to show what they’re made of. The Manciat side of the family had land in Charnay-Lès-Mâcon, the fruit from which goes into her delicious and fabulous value Macon Marizottes. The Poncet side of the family had vineyards in the Pouilly Fuissé appellation – top of the Mâconnais tree for quality designations.
It’s a little warmer in the Mâconnais than the Côte d’Or so you will often find a riper, richer flavour to the wines. They’re generous and round and satisfying and excellent with lots of different foods from fish and shellfish to chicken to cheese to roast pork and all manner of lovely things in between. Manciat’s Pouilly Fuissé Vieilles Vignes and Les Bruyères are lovely examples of the how good wines from anywhere Burgundy can be – round, full and complex balanced with freshness and elegance. Try a bottle of one of these with your roast chicken on Sunday for a real treat.