About the Region
Our French office is in the city of Macon, just a short drive from some of the region's most famous villages. Samantha Bailey is our resident expert on the area, having both gotten married (in the village of St. Amour, very fitting!) and lived in the area for over 20 years (with her husband, two daughters, dog, cat and some chickens - all to keep her grounded!). Most days, when she’s not traveling, she can be found walking her dog Sydney through the vines.
While we give credit to Samantha for the wines we produce, she actually says it’s the dog that has been the discoverer of many of our growers!
The new ‘acquisition’ in France has been a few hectares in St. Veran, along with a farmhouse and outbuildings that are in need of some (a lot!) TLC.
Macon is 40 miles north of Lyon and 250 miles from Paris. It’s renowned for wines produced from Chardonnay grapes. The most famous wine is Pouilly- Fuisse however for the best value wines (which means lesser known) head for St. Veran or the wines that carry the Macon name, either village or generic, such as Macon-Charnay or Macon Villages - which can also be labeled under the more widely recognized name of Bourgogne Chardonnay.
In Beaujolais, while officially designated as being part of the Burgundy region, the wines are not made from Pinot Noir but from Gamay (a crossing of red grape Pinot Noir and the white Gouais). There are several ‘quality’ levels of Beaujolais – Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages and then the Crus which carry the name of the village from which they are produced. If the wines carry the Village name, there is no mention of the word Beaujolais on the label.
'Beaujolais' - this is the easiest to find and the most generic, accounting for nearly half of all the wine produced in the region. A vast proportion of the production is sold in November under the term ‘nouveau’. On the whole, Beaujolais at this level tends to be light, soft and very easy drinking and best consumed within 12 months of the vintage.
Beaujolais Villages – grapes at this level come from a more limited area than Beaujolais, limited to thirty-nine villages. They have greater weight and complexity than straight Beaujolais, being produced by more traditional fermentation and less carbonic-maceration, meaning it ages better and is best consumed with two to three years of the vintage.
Beaujolais Crus – unlike Burgundy the word ‘Cru’ here means the area covered by the named village versus a specific vineyard. There are ten villages that are allowed to use their name in place of the term Beaujolais. They are Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Chenas, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Julienas, Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent, Regnie and St Amour. The wines are vinified traditionally and as such are quite different to Beaujolais/ Beaujolais Villages, having more color, body and ageing ability.
While it’s possible to find both white and rosé Beaujolais, they do tend to be rarities but can be very good.