Olivier Merlin is one of those guys that you just want to hang out with all the time. Like his wines, he is thoughtful, generous and kind but meticulous and unpretentious. The pleasure factor is high at this estate and while Olivier doesn’t follow any established “dogma” regarding vineyard or winemaking philosophies, he is absolutely committed to a higher thought and respectful practice with both his wines and his vineyards. There are no herbicides or pesticides used in the vineyard, picking is done by hand and plowing sometimes done by horse. In the winery, the method is classic Burgundy vinification and élevage in barrique and pretty hands off during these processes. The wines are clean, pure and delicious Chardonnay from the Maconnais.
Lay Of The Land
The Maconnais is in the southern part of Burgundy and borders the Côte d’Or to the south and Beaujolais to the north. It’s named after the town of Macon and produces a considerable amount of wine compared to the Côte d’Or. Aside from being best known for great value Chardonnay, the Maconnais is interspersed with other types of agriculture and is perhaps underestimated for its potential. In recent years, there has been a concerted effort in the appellation to allocate an increasing number of single vineyard cuvées in an effort to showcase the quality and unique terroir certain parts of the Maconnais can deliver. There are small amounts of Pinot Noir and Gamay planted for red wine production, though less common. The natural higher temperatures and increased humidity due to the proximity to the Saone River, allows for a more fruit forward style of wine. It’s an appellation for Chardonnay lovers.