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Fabrice Larochette Mâcon Chaintré 2015

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Winegrower: Fabrice Larochette
Region: Macon (Burgundy, France)
Grape: Chardonnay
Vintage: 2015
Color: White
Alc. 13.5%

2015 was a year in which the incredible weather made the grapes and the grapes made the wine. It was fabulous! The most critical decision the winegrower had to make was when to harvest. This was important to avoid the potential for over ripeness, and today’s winegrower timed it perfectly! In the Burgundian appellation of Mâcon, an hour south of Beaune, Fabrice Larochette delivers chardonnay that transcends the preconceived notions that many people have about the region. Known for large-scale production of more ordinary wines but with the potential for greatness, the Mâcon has pockets of excellence. Today’s Mâcon Chaintré is a terroir driven beauty with a complex nose combining white fruits, licorice, and floral aromas. On the palate it displays great richness and mouthfeel with elegant balance but without oak. It was crafted by a staunch non-interventionist who farms classic Burgundian clay and limestone soils in the most environmentally friendly and meticulous ways and only uses stainless steel tanks to ferment and age his wines. This wonderful Chardonnay from a great vintage is a joy to drink, and at $23.75 a bottle it’s in line with Cellar Direct’s “price-to-quality” mantra. Fabrice produces only a small quantity of this wine so your chance of finding it elsewhere is slim.

In ancient times the Mâcon was a major Roman crossroads and an early site of vine cultivation. In this part of Burgundy the vines occupy a landscape of little hills and valleys that look like someone painted them with water colors. Today the appellation’s best artisan winegrowers are delivering an unprecedented level of quality and now offer excellent red and white wines that have received much well deserved praise. Great Burgundy houses like Lafon and Leflaive now produce excellent whites in this region. Located in southern Burgundy, Mâcon generally has the same type of soils but enjoys a slightly warmer climate, which can result in wines with a touch more fruit. With the thoughtful farming and hands off approach in the cellar Fabrice Larochette produces terroir-driven wines that will exceed your expectations for this region.

I met Fabrice Larochette at his estate in Chaintré in 2013 and had the opportunity to taste through his wines, of which all were excellent, and I’ve been an avid fan ever since.

     

Fabrice’s 10.7 hectares of vineyards have been in his family for generations. The .63-hectare vineyard, which this Mâcon Chaintré calls home, is on a south-facing slope of Chaintré. The vines are 25 years old. Vineyard work is manual, grapes are hand harvested and are vinified and aged in stainless steel with bare minimum of sulfites added. This wine is pulsating with life, the essence of the soil and incredible purity of fruit. Fabrice refuses to use any oak because he believes that it takes away from the purest essence of Chardonnay. His wines are some of the best values available even though production is small. For an incredible Chardonnay high at a reasonable price enjoy this wine at 15˚ as an aperitif or better yet with oysters on the half or this wonderful steamed scallion ginger fish!