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by Fred McMillin
It Takes a Village
"The Macon-Villages Blanc appellation is the single-most-important wine in the Maconnais. The producing region encompasses 43 of what are considered the finest villages..." "Most growers are too small to make and bottle wine, and instead sell their Chardonnay grapes to negociants..."
(Prof. John Baxevanis, Wines of Eastern France)
The Rest of the Story
Emperor Domatian knew Rome had made a mistake. The Empire's legionaires had organized winemaking near today's Macon and other parts of Burgundy. But the wines were so good, they were reducing consumption of Rome's own wines. Hence, in 89 A.D. he ordered the systemtic destruction of those French vineyards.
However, in time the vines reappeared, and today we can enjoy very affordable Macon-Villages. My panel just tasted a good one...100% Chardonnay not masked with heavy oak.
Wine of the Day
1998 Chardonnay "Tradition", Saint-Louis
Postscript—A Giant Sales Pitch
The congregation was kneeling. One member was so huge that even kneeling, from a distance it looked like he was standing. The year was about 1660 and the church was the Royal Chapel in Paris. The giant was Pierre Brosse from near Macon.
A curious observer got in touch with him, and asked his vocation. He was selling wine from the virtually unknown area of Macon. So, the observer tried the wine, declared it exceptional and placed a big order.
The Paris market for Macon wines was established, for the new customer was the King of France!
A Gastronomic Curiosity—Some years ago when my wife and
I were exploring the wines of the region, we lunched at the
Hotel Bellevue in Macon. Chef-owner Andre Champagne (pictured),
bought the hotel in 1923, and created a dessert which he served
us proudly, delicious cookies in the shape of hollow cylinders (pictured).
This page created February 2000