The Macon Villages Vineyards that surround every village in the area

There is nothing like being in Macon on a warm, spring day. The country restaurants disgorge their patrons all over their front yards into the sunshine. The chilled silver buckets with crisp, minerally Macon poking out the top appear on every table. Appetites are strong and the laughter is loud and frequent. There is not a cloud in the sky. The little roads twist and wind and disappear into the rolling hills.

The Maconnais is Cote d'Or's little sibling to the south - less expensive, but 100% great Chardonnay with crisp dry flavors of lemon, honey, flowers, orange zest all tied together in a minerally package. There is fantastic lively acidity - nothing flabby or heavy or too candied and it's a white Burgundy that is priced so you can have a bottle every day.

Macon Villages wines come from villages stretching from Tournus ( south of Beaune) down to Macon (which is north of Lyon). Macon Villages are wines that are a cut above wines with just "Macon" on the label.

I was in Macon recently with Jean-Pierre Auvigue. Domaine Auvigue is a tidy estate in the commune of Charnay-les-Macon. It is always one of my favorite places to visit. It is Macon wine at its best. Jean-Pierre believes in putting you through your paces when you taste. There is always a line-up of about a dozen bottles, ready for the uncorking, but first there is the spin through the chais and the barrel tastings of the current vintage.

But, what about the 2006s? What an amazing treat! We were all so wrapped up in the 2005 vintage, we were just not prepared for the charming, fresh, and delicious 2006s. I could drink them all night! They are an insider's vintage and will probably never get the attention they deserve - good, more for us then. I love these 2006s!

Of course, not everybody wants to forego their share of these wonderful wines. Allen Meadows is the man about Burgundy these days. We can trust him and he seems to have caught on to the 2006 Maconnais wines.

"A very attractive easy-going vintage that is like a softer and riper 2002....competitive with the 2005." Allen Meadows - Burghound

Auvigue's Macon Villages is pale gold. There are fruit and floral notes with good length in the mouth. This Macon Villages comes from a vineyard very close to Pouilly Fuisse. The grapes are planted on clay and limestone soils.

It was during my visit with Jean-Pierre that I realized that for wine, just like everything else, timing is everything. The Holy Grail for wine makers for the past decade has been to haul in the ripest grapes possible during every harvest. This is a good thing, but for white wine, it is very tricky because every day those grapes stay on the vine reaching their maximum ripeness, they are also losing precious acidity - that nervy, vivacious character in whites that is their sine qua non. It is finding that perfect moment when the acidity aligns with the ripeness that is the eureka time with a white wine.

Jean-Pierre is master of the eureka. I have been drinking his wines for a long time and he doesn't miss. For this reason, you will be lucky to find a bottle of Auvigue in my cellar unless it's just been delivered. I can't keep my hands off of an Auvigue Macon. There's something about a comfortable chair and a sweating, shimmering glass, outside, at the end of the day that makes me mad about Macon and I predict you'll have a similar response. Cynthia Hurley

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Domaine Jean Pierre Auvigue Macon Villages  2006

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