Guffens-Heynen Macon-Pierreclos Le Chavigne 2018
1 or more bottles$120.00
The Wine Advoca91 points
The Chavigne Pierreclos vineyard lies on a very steep slope of rich brown clays with countless pierrailles, or small stones. Of all his vineyards, “I love Mâcon-Pierreclos, the most,” Guffens told us, “because it was our very first vineyard and no one wanted it because it was too steep.”
Although several high-profile growers also farm here, it’s a vineyard that has rightly come to be synonymous with Guffens. The Guffens parcel—accounting for 3.3 hectares—is planted at a density of 11,000 vines per hectare and yields 300-400g of fruit per vine (just six to eight bunches). In his excellent reference, Inside Burgundy, Jasper Morris MW writes of this vineyard: “Pierreclos is at the crossroads between Mâconnais and Beaujolais ... there are good reds to be had here, as well as exceptional whites from Domaine Guffens-Heynen.”
This wine is a blend of fruit from old vines simply called Les Vieilles, plus a parcel from the site’s younger vines, and some press wines from the Tri de Chavigne, all raised in 20% new oak. The 2018 is a ripe yet driven wine loaded with pithy grapefruit notes and a cool, racy, rocky close. One of my favourites this year.
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Critic Scores & reviews
The Wine Advocate91
"Wafting from the glass with aromas of sweet green orchard fruit, white peach and almond paste, the 2018 Mâcon-Pierreclos Le Chavigne is medium to full-bodied, ample and lively, with a fine spine of acidity, good concentration and considerable elegance."
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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
Burgundy is undoubtedly the home of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnays in the world, where vineyards, or Domaines have been producing wines for over 2000 years. Burgundy is located in the North-east of France, an hours drive from Lyon and 2 hours from Paris. With over 100 appellations, or sub-regions (more than any other wine region) Burgundy is known for being the most terroir-oriented region in the World. The finest red wines of Burgundy are found in the Côte d'Or, a string of villages including Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey St Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-St Georges.
There are flavours present in great Burgundys that are the envy of Pinot Noir producers worldwide. The elusive peacocks tail finish that goes on and on, and the pretty-elegance backed by Burgundy muscle is the goal of winemakers around the globe. The main levels in the Burgundy classifications, in descending order of quality, are: Grand crus, Premier crus, village appellations, and finally regional appellations. For the Chablis wines, a similar hierarchy of Grand Cru, Premier Cru and Village wines is used, plus Petit Chablis as a level below Village Chablis.
A subregion of Burgundy, France, Mâcon wines can be red, white, or Pinot Noir-based rosé. The area covers 6,880 hectares of rolling hills. Chardonnay, which is well-suited to the slightly warmer climate here than Côte-d’Or’s, is the most widely planted white variety. The best Chardonnays display a nice balance of fruit (apple and citrus), medium acidity, and medium to full body. Malolactic fermentation (MLF) may also add a bit of creaminess to these wines. Mâcon reds are generally Gamay with a bit of Pinot Noir as well. They range in colour from deep garnet to cherry and dark ruby, with the purple highlights characteristic of Gamay. On the nose, they display notes of red and black fruits, underbrush, mushroom, and animal characters. With age, they can develop notes of prune and pepper. On the palate, they are well-structured and textural. The rosés are vibrant and easy-drinking.
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