Mâcon Village – Vieilles Vignes
The Chardonnay grapes are hand-harvested and then quickly and gently pressed in a state-of-the-art pneumatic press, in order to extract all the fruit and aromas while avoiding any bitterness. After 2 days of cold stabilization and a light clearing of the juice (débourbage), Touzot slowly ferments his Mâcon Villages in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel cuves for 10 to 15 days. The wine is aged on its lees in tanks and undergoes full malolactic fermentation in January. It is then bottled in April. The wine is a text book example of Mâcon Villages: a lively bouquet of green apples and flowers (acacia is notable) and crisp, persistent, juicy green apple and melon Chardonnay fruit.
The 2021 growing season started early due to warm temperatures in March. But the severe, early April frost significantly reduced the Chardonnay crop. Temperatures warmed in June, and flowering occurred mid-month, at the normal time. Summer weather was quite rainy and the vines developed steadily. Veraison took place in mid-August. Favorable autumn weather, with dry, warm days and cool nights, continued into late September. The Jean Touzot Macon Villages 2021 was harvested on September 23rd. The very late date (one week after the Pinot Noir was picked) was due to the extra time needed for the Chardonnay grapes to attain balanced maturity and give a bright, full flavored Macon Villages.
Winemaker Frédéric Touzot observes that while his Chardonnay harvest was greatly reduced in quantity by the April frost, the 2021 Macon Villages “has remarkable purity and freshness, with lemony-floral notes and a long, lively and minerally finish. It is a very classic vintage.”
About the Producer
The three-generation Touzot family domaine is located in the northernmost part of the Mâcon region, just south of the Côte Chalonnaise. Their 11 hectares of vineyards overlooking the commune of Martaily les Brancion, near Tournus, are planted with 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir and Gamay (for Bourgogne Rouge, Mâcon Rouge and Crémant). The Chardonnay vines are planted on several perfectly exposed slopes with ideal clay-limestone soils at an average altitude of 200 meters. In 2005, the Touzots added the 3 hectare Les Parettes Chardonnay vineyard which they prepared and planted themselves. It has an ideal, due-south exposure and a thin layer of stony, heat-retaining soil over a bed of pure limestone. The Chardonnay vines now average 30 years of age, making for a more concentrated and complex Mâcon Villages.
Jean’s son Frédéric took over management of the family domaine in 2002, after graduating from the Lycée Viticole in Mâcon and completing a stage in South Africa. He dedicated himself to moving the domaine’s viticultural practice to sustainability. He ended systematic vineyard treatments, and now only carries out treatments when absolutely necessary. He discontinued the use of herbicides and now regularly plows the soil to ensure its healthy state and encourage the vines’ roots to go deep into the limestone subsoil. Frédéric Touzot believes careful pruning in the winter, leaf stripping, and bunch thinning in abundant years which makes for a naturally healthy ambiance and enhances the quality of his wine. He uses organic fertilizers only when deemed necessary by tests of the soils. Touzot observes that his grapes are now both healthier and riper at harvest time. Environmentally friendly practices are also used inside the winery, such as the recycling and purification of rinse water before it is drained away. “I try to be more observant and attentive to the needs of vineyard,” explains Frédéric, “rather than habitually using the same practices every year. By respecting nature, I better understand my profession.”