This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Feb. 18, 2005.

Pure Chardonnay

Sometimes it seems that Mâcon, France gets about as much respect in the wine world as Macon, Georgia. This vast appellation toward the southern end of Burgundy is best known for pouring out a lake of affable, affordable, but generally lackluster Chardonnay-based white wine.

This is not entirely a fair rap. Although Mâcon does indeed produce a lot of decidedly modest wine in industrial quantity (and industrial quality), there are plenty of jewels in the mire. Particularly when you go to the Maconnais "villages" (as discussed in Wine from the Villages on Jan. 19).

One of the most interesting of the Mâcon villages is Vergisson. A tiny village perched in a valley between the Mont de Vergisson and the Mont de Solutré, high above the city of Mâcon, its limestone soil has lured a number of high-quality producers, including the well-known Jean-Marie Guffens and the maker of today's wine, Jean Jacques Litaud.

Litaud's 2002 Mâcon-Vergisson Domaine des Vieilles Pierres ("Domaine of the old stones"), is a fine example. It showcases the fresh, ripe appley character of pure Chardonnay fruit in a well-balanced and appealing wine that presents this popular but often-maligned variety at its best. Sold at a Mâon price, it's capable of competing with White Burgundies from regions of more stellar reputation.

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