Burgundy? Think Mâcon
Chardonnay, the principal white grape variety in its native home of Burgundy/ Bourgogne, usually states on the wine label the name of a village or district rather than declaring its own name. Burgundy can command some of the highest prices for French white wines. Yet, my blind-tasting sought to prove that quality wines can be found at good value prices, while maintaining their regional accent and delivering a food-friendly satisfying experience.
Mâcon and Montagny in particular represent some of the best-value Chardonnays from Burgundy.
Located in the region's warmer south, between France's two capitals of gastronomy Lyons and Dijon, the wines have a fuller body, softer acidity and red-apple fruit character than its most northerly satellite of Chablis. Village wines in the Mâcon district, such as Lugny, are widely available, while those from the village at Montagny often have a mineral note from the vineyard. The highest-scoring wines are featured. Bon appétit!
1) Montagny La Reserve 2010, Blason de Bourgogne 13pc
Mellow bouquet of melons and apples. On its peak of maturity with white pepper and apples lifted by a salty minerality. Enjoy with pork medallions in a Dijon mustard and cream sauce.
€12 special offer from €19.99 until December 9 at Tesco nationwide.
2) Mâcon-Lugny 2012, Joseph Drouhin 13pc
Ripe, golden-apple aromas and flavours. An apple-skin sappiness on finish is complemented by well-balanced acidity and alcohol. Try with chicken thighs stuffed with toasted pine nuts in a creamy spinach sauce.
€14.99 nationwide at Tesco and Dunnes Stores and Donnybrook Fair, Dublin.
3) Chardonnay Tradition 2013, Moillard 13pc
Mineral and lemon peel aromas. Zesty with green-apple fruit, pithy and a terroir expression. Classy and a long zesty and mineral finish. Serve with seafood paella.
€17.99 at Cappagh Stores, Knocknacarra, Galway; No 21 Park Road, Charleville and Fennessy's, New Street, Limerick. Agent: J&C Kenny.
4) Montagny 1er Cru 2012, Chateau de la Saule 13pc
Lean and elegant style with an attractive oyster-shell minerality that persists to a long finish. Pair with prawns tossed in pasta and pesto.
€25.99 at Mitchell & Son, Customs House Quay Building, IFSC and Glasthule and mitchellandson.com.
An Irishman's account of the journey and the destination, exploring and discovering remarkable taste experiences in the gastronomic heartland of France by living there periodically. Raymond Blake's Breakfast In Burgundy was seven years in the making and his account of that time was worth the wait. Pre-order on Amazon.com.
Castillo Colina Mencía 2010, DO Bierzo, Spain 13pc
Vanilla and peppery spice flatters the juicy red and blackberry flavours. Serve with seared chunks of lamb and peppers.
Was €12.50, now €9.99, December 2 to January 12, at Dunnes Stores nationwide