a lesson in Chardonnay production from a french wine legend
by nicolas harary
Tasting wine with Giles Corsin is a lesson in the maker craft. He crafts white Burgundy with incredible finesse, yet never loses the generous fruit that has made the Macon one of the world’s best places for Chardonnay. On our last trip to the region, we were lucky enough to taste with Giles; March is the best month to visit, as it’s when he tastes from each of his 28 tanks of Saint Véran and Pouilly Fuissé, and decides which wines will go into barrel, which will stay in tank, and which go directly into the bottle.
One that went directly into bottle was the very rare and always exceptional Macon-Villages. The humble appellation always belies what is in the product. Believe me, this is one of the greatest treasures of Burgundy, and given its price, one of the greatest bangs for your buck.
The Macon-Villages is sourced from two vineyard parcels that are directly below and above Corsin’s finest Pouilly Fuissé’s vineyard, Les Chailloux. The difference in appellation is a question of elevation; one is too low on the hillside, one too high to be considered Pouilly Fuissé. Yet the soil is the same as Les Chailloux, a chalky marl that lends incredible complexity and length to one of the best Chardonnays in France.
The 2016 Macon Villages has a pale green shine to it, with beautiful aromas of ripe, green apple, touched with a stony minerality. Its mid-palate is concentrated and layered with fruit, with a finish that goes on forever. This is classic white Burgundy—honed, complex and, terrific at any table.
The production for the Macon Villages is miniscule, its numbers reserved for Grand Cru wines (in 2016, just 275 cases). In years past, I’ve only gotten a few cases, most of which my wife Melissa and I consumed at home. For the past 10 years, it’s been our house white from July to October. This year, we visited Corsin right before the wines were getting ready to be released, and as it is with so many things in life, timing is everything. First in line, I reserved 25 cases and I am happy to offer most of them to the Restaurant Nicholas mailing list. (Melissa insisted on a few cases for our house, however.) Until supplies run out, enjoy a discount just north of 20%—regular price is $25, but Nicholas Wines Email Sale Price is $20 ($228 for cases).