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Vineyards in Macon have reached the next stage in their battle for promotion to Premier Cru status.
Macon is currently the only region of Burgundy without any Premier Crus, and producers in Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Loché, Pouilly-Vinzelles and Saint Véran have been waging a six-year long campaign to get recognition for their best vineyards.
In 2010 they sent a geological study of the terroir of 400ha and 73 individual climats to the National Institute for Appellations (INAO).
The intention is to show the measurable differences between land that should be classified Premier Cru and that of surrounding plots.
Mathieu Bubel, marketing director of Maison Drouhin, which produces several Maconnais wines within its négociant label, told Decanter.com, ‘Visually, you can tell there are some great terroirs for potential Premier Crus in the Maconnais, from the colour of the soils, their make-up and their exposure. It remains to determine exactly which ones, and with the INAO that can take time. Clearly also methods of production need to be tougher for Premier Cru vineyards, but it’s certainly achievable.’
The INAO, which has appointed a panel of experts to study the soils of each of the four appellations and to define the exact criteria for delimitation, confirmed that a final decision is still unlikely until at least 2015.
It is likely to specify that all harvests would need to be manual for Premier Cru vineyards in the Maconnais, and that yields would need to be 5 hectolitres per hectare lower than for non-Premier Crus.
There is precedent: climats (defined plots) get periodically reclassified in Burgundy. Clos des Lambrays in Morey St Denis grand cru dates from 1981, and La Grande Rue in Vosne Romanée from 1992. Les Epenots in Pommard has also put in a request to go from Premier to Grand Cru.
Not everyone agrees changing classification is a good idea. Pierre Morey of Domaine Pierre Morey, who makes a Pommard Grand Epenots 1er Cru, said, ‘Pommard has been asking for this for nearly 20 years, and it is clear that the wines are wonderful, with great ageing potential. But in the end, a great wine will make itself known whatever its classification.’
Story by Jane Anson in Bordeaux
Courtesy of Decanter