This large southern appellation of Burgundy, comprising around 17000 acres, bridges the 30km gap between Chalonnaise in the North and Beaujolais in the south. A warmer region, this is where Northern France starts to turn Mediterranean. The regions countryside is mainly agricultural with grain, orchards and cattle farming sitting alongside separate blocks of vineyards, the rolling hills and valleys more similar to the Cotswolds or Berkshire.
Here there is the continual hazards of spring frosts, lessened slightly by the naturally warmer temperatures that give a softer mouthfeel to the whites and a riper sweeter fruit to the reds. The soil is split into 2 types, limestone, planted mainly with the white Chardonnay with a little Aligoté, and clay/sand, planted with Pinot Noir and Gamay. Comprising over 70 communes, this is an area which has risen in quality in recent years.
Half of the 70 communes are allowed to add their own village name – Macon Lugny, Macon la Roche Vineuse, Macon Chardonnay etc – this being a sign of better wine, and also, most importantly, here the Cooperative system excels, by raising standards of wine and showing how good this region is at making savoury, well made and affordable Burgundy. The Cave Cooperative at both Buxy and Lugny are perhaps the result of the dominance of mixed farming, but it really works as a system.