Le Chai Duchet Macon Villages (750ml)
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Le Chai Duchet was established in 2013 by Alexis Duchet and his parents. Alexis is the seventh generation to work his family’s land in the village of Viré which is situated in the Haut-Maconnais, 18km north of Macon. The wines are fermented with their indigenous yeast and with low total SO2 levels. The Macon-Villages comes from parcels of very old vines situated on the lower elevations of the Viré slopes.
In 1928, Alexis’ great grandparents joined with other wine growers of Viré to create a cooperative which enabled them to both vinify and commercialize their wines. Alexis’ parents were working with this same cooperative until they decided to build a small winery, “le chai duchet” and shift their focus to estate bottled wines. Alexis travelled extensively, doing winemaking stints in unusual places such as Margaret River and Ontario Lake, as well as closer to home in Meursault and the Savoie before returning to his family estate. He has since inherited 9.5 hectares from his parents; 7ha in Viré-Clessé and 2.5ha in Macon-Villages.
The delicious wines of the Macon-Villages appellation offer a great value alternative to the classic Pouilly-Fuisse appellation wines. Similar soil and climate to Pouilly and just a stones throw from the region, Le Chai Duchet offers so much. This is a refined, yet intense wine with aromas of white peach, dried honey and white chocolate that are beautifully entwined with the oak. The palate is rounded on the entry with fresh lime, apricot.
The family stopped using chemicals in the vineyard during the 1980’s when they saw problems with erosion and for the last ten years the land has been farmed organically, despite the fact that the cooperative offered no extra money for the grapes. Alexis is continuing in the same philosophy. This wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and has no oak influence; the richness and creamy texture comes from malolactic fermentation and lees contact.
I love Chardonnay in all of it’s stylistic incarnations and have been consistently happy with Le Chai Duchet’s Macon-Villages. It is a classically styled Chardonnay from Southern Burgundy that I can actually afford and that I can drink anytime, no matter what my mood or occasion thanks to its wonderful balance. The organically grown (though not certified) grapes are fermented in stainless with indigenous yeasts and there is minimal use of SO2 during and after winemaking. The fruit is ripe, though not tropical, think apple and pear, with just the right amount of fresh yeasty notes on the nose and palate from some lees contact. This wine captures the effortlessness and subtle elegance of French style in a glass; timeless, elegant and always fashionable!