2020 Domaine Cordier Mâcon Milly-Lamartine ‘Clos du Four’
Introducing August’s wine, a delightful chardonnay from the south of Burgundy: the 2020 Domaine Cordier Mâcon Milly-Lamartine ‘Clos du Four’. A mouthful in both name and nature, we’re certain this succulent white will be a winner at your next dinner party. As the lengthy title suggests, there’s a lot to unpack with this wine, including a multi-generational winemaking history, an intricate sub-regional system and, most importantly, a delicious terroir-driven wine. Allons-y!
Burgundy: OG chardonnay
Did you know that there’s a village named Chardonnay in the south of Burgundy? It’s true, after all, this is where the chardonnay grape originated. And while you won’t necessarily see the variety listed on a bottle of Burgundian white, it is the region’s principal white grape. As a result, White Burgundy, or Bourgogne Blanc is regarded as the model for quality chardonnay, eg., fermented and matured in new(ish) oak barrels. And it’s easy to see why – it's delicious. But just as there are different styles of chardonnay from around the world, there are different stylistic expressions depending on where in Burgundy a wine comes from. This is reflected by the French wine classification system, and while it might seem confusing at first, a little knowledge can go a long way to enhancing your appreciation. So, let’s break it down.
Drinking this wine is like biting into a juicy peach. It’s fleshy and ripe, with fragrant stone fruit and zesty citrus, with hints of spice and white blossom. The palate is juicy and mouth filling, with bright acidity and a beautiful round softness on the tongue. A wonderfully versatile wine.
Like most European wine producing countries, the French have a classifications system that is pretty confusing to Australians. Here, we’re free to grow the varieties we like, where we like and we say so on the label. In France you are subject to the AOC, short for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, which refers to standards set for wines (not to mention meats and cheeses!) made throughout the country. There are currently 363 AOCs for wine and spirits in France that control everything from which varieties can grow where, how the grapes are grown to what ultimately goes in the bottle. For example, only a handful of varieties are permitted to grow in Burgundy and be labelled Vin de Bourgogne: pinot noir, chardonnay, aligoté, pinot gris, gamay and sauvignon blanc; anything else would just be generic Vin de France.
These classification laws are part of what establish France’s reputation as a producer of reliably great wine. And within the AOC itself, you’ll find several designations that reflect location and quality. Take this month’s wine for example:
Domaine Cordier Mâcon Milly-Lamartine ‘Clos du Four’ Burgundy, France
Burgundy = regional designation.
This refers to the broadest sense of an AOC.
Mâcon = sub-regional.
Within those regions are smaller subregions known for more specific wine or terroir.
Milly-Lamartine = commune/village.
Narrowing further within a subregion, these areas are sometimes only a few miles in scope.
‘Clos du Four’ = special classification.
An AOC might be further specified for quality at this point, indicating a Cru, which refers to a specific vineyard or group of vineyards typically recognized for quality.
In France, it’s not uncommon for winemaking to run in the family. In fact, some of the oldest winemaking dynasties can be traced back six, seven, even eight generations. While Domaine Cordier doesn’t have quite so many successions under its belt, it is approaching 100 years in operation.
Established by Roger Cordier in 1930 with just 5 hectares, today it is run by his son, Christophe, who took over in 1987. After assuming management he took the decision to stop selling to negociants and to focus on improving the vineyards, converting to organic farming, reducing yields and more recently adopting biodynamic principles for his entire Domaine. In 2015 Christophe opened a new entirely gravity fed winery in the village of Fuissé, with the aim to take even more care during the vinification and ageing process. The estate is now 32 hectares including some of the best vineyards in Pouilly Fuissé and surrounding Mâcon appellations, which Christophe describes as “a mosaic of parcels” with over 120 differing plots.
So, what can you expect in the glass?
This is lovingly made wine. All the fruit is hand picked and whole-bunch pressed, and the juice gently moved through the winery by the use of gravity. The vinification is equally considered; using natural yeasts in large wooden vats or foudre, along with no fining and light filtration, this wine’s origins shine through. Drinking this wine is like biting into a juicy peach. It’s fleshy and ripe, with fragrant stone fruit and zesty citrus, with hints of spice and white blossom. The palate is juicy and mouth filling, with bright acidity and a beautiful round softness on the tongue.
A simple but decadent dish
A wonderfully versatile wine, you could really enjoy it with anything, however, we recommend you serve it chilled – but not too cold – alongside fresh seafood, tender white fish or creamy mushroom risotto. Bon appetit!
Bonjour! We've put together a playlist of French classics, old and new, to transport you to the quiant villages in the south of Burgundy. Bring the cheese to room temperature and pop open the Domaine Cordier Mâcon Milly-Lamartine as you prepare for your oh so chic French night in.