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International Trophy Chardonnay under £15 – Marks & Spencer, Mâcon-Villages, Burgundy, France 2014

A really lively wine with an expressive, pure, mineral nose which also exhibits a saline slant beside the white fruits. To taste, it’s zesty, youthful, floral and upfront, with fleshy, persistent fruit on a finely balanced, distinguished palate where those crunchy flavours linger impressively (12.5%).
£10 Marks & Spencer

A winning combination of delicious, mineral fruit and nice florality, with an Old World classicism at its heart, secured an International Trophy for this joint venture between UK retailer Marks & Spencer and Vignerons des Grandes Vignes.

Victory came against a strong contender from Chile’s Itata Valley and a Petit Chablis from another French co-operative with a reputation for excellence.

This Trophy-winner is borne of a long partnership between Marks & Spencer and Vignerons des Grandes Vignes, the Mâconnais co-op established in 2008 by the merger of the Caves Coopératives of Prissé, Sologny and Verzé.

For the past six years, that partnership has been between winemaker Georges Brichon of Grandes Vignes and Marks & Spencer winemaker Sue Daniels – working through some tricky vintages in the process, but always finding something interesting to blend from the co-op’s 5.5 million-bottle annual production.

Brichon, a 28-year veteran of the organisation, is now in charge of three production sites, with the ‘interesting if challenging’ job of pulling together some 120 member growers, who farm 550 hectares of vines within all the diverse appellations of the Mâconnais, with St-Véran a particular strength.

Together with Daniels, Brichon makes a rigorous selection for this wine from the best Mâcon-Villages cuvées, with each village contributing a different qualitiy to the final blend – from white fruit aromas to minerality and floral tones. The eventual aim is a wine that combines an expression of the terroir of the Mâconnais with perfect harmony. Just 32,000 six-bottle cases are made.

GeorgesGeorges Brichon of Vignerons des Grandes Vignes makes this wine in partnership with M&S

Tasted against

La Chablisienne, Pas Si Petit, Petit Chablis, Chablis, Burgundy, France 2013 • Pandolfi Price, Los Patricios, Itata Valley, Chile 2012.

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