Explore / Expertise

Mâcon Maestros: Growers That Go The Extra Mile


Joanna Goodman Joanna Goodman / 05 February 2020

When it comes to Burgundy, Society buyer Toby Morrhall always says to go by grower first. In the Mâconnais, Burgundy's southernmost region, this is particularly pertinent as 70% of the wine here comes from co-ops. Some are excellent, many less so, but you experience a significant step up in quality and personality when you buy from high-quality small domaines who are making wines of world-beating quality. It's these that Toby seeks out on our behalf. I asked him to explain what it is about these producers that makes them stand out from the crowd:

'The main difference is that these people get their hands dirty! They are the ones sitting on the tractor in the vineyards and making the wine. They have an intimate knowledge of their land, even down to individual vines; this is crucial when it comes to making decisions about pruning and picking the grapes. It's their name on the bottle and they want the wine to be the best it can be and to reflect their winemaking philosophy as well as the terroir. The yields for some of these growers are sometimes less than you find in Meursault and other fancier appellations further north. Lower yields mean more concentrated fruit and more complexity of flavour in the wine. It's these small percentage differences in everything they do from grape to glass that all add up and make all the difference. Paying just that little bit more for these domaine-produced wines takes you not just one, but several notches above the basic blends.'

When it comes to Burgundy, Society buyer Toby Morrhall always says to go by grower first. In the Mâconnais, Burgundy's southernmost region, this is particularly pertinent as 70% of the wine here comes from co-ops.
When it comes to Burgundy, Society buyer Toby Morrhall always says to go by grower first. In the Mâconnais, Burgundy's southernmost region, this is particularly pertinent as 70% of the wine here comes from co-ops.

Toby has been buying Burgundy for The Wine Society for more than 20 years, travelling to the region every year to get out into the vineyards with our growers and monitor their progress with each vintage. This is also what makes the difference.

Meet the Burgundy Wine Growers

Frédéric Burrier

Frédéric Burrier
Frédéric Burrier

Frédéric is the sixth generation in charge of Maison Joseph Burrier and the family property Château de Beauregard in Pouilly-Fuissé. After many years at Jadot, one of Burgundy's leading négociants (merchants), Frédéric came back to the family business in 1999. Bright, passionate and charismatic, he has done a lot to raise quality and the profile of his region. The family holds 22 hectares of vines in Pouilly-Fuissé, seven in Saint-Véran and 12 in Beaujolais, and they also have their own négoce business. The mark of most great winemakers, Frédéric is constantly experimenting, working with different barrels of various woods from different coopers, though judging ageing just right so that the wood does not dominate. Despite a busy schedule, Frédéric always seems incredibly relaxed – 'Je suis passionné, non stressé' he says. And it shows in his wines.

Christophe Cordier

Christophe Cordier
Christophe Cordier

Toby describes Christophe of Domaine Roger Cordier in the village of Fuissé as, 'a piercingly blue-eyed human dynamo'! Christophe believes in pruning hard to get maximum concentration in his wines. He's also lucky enough to have a patchwork of 30-odd hectares of vines across eight villages in some lovely terroirs on which to draw. Christophe supervises everything, even the toasting of his oak barrels so they are done to his exact specification. The result? Wines which punch way above the weight of their, often humble, appellation.

Jacques and Nathalie Saumaize
Jacques and Nathalie Saumaize

Jacques and Nathalie Saumaize

This husband-and-wife team have been making both Saint-Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé wines from their eight hectares of vines since the 1980s sited mainly around the high-altitude village of Vergisson which produces fine and elegant wines. They are both from the region and feel passionate and very attached to their land. They pay meticulous attention to detail in vineyard and cellar, doing everything by hand and in respect of nature. Their wines are never over-oaked, just perfectly balanced and they are always striving to do better.

Jean-François Gonon

Jean-François Gonon
Jean-François Gonon

The fifth generation at his family's domaine, Jean-François has practically grown up in the vines, joining his parents as soon as he left school then taking over the reins in 1991. He works jolly hard with just three other people to help in the winery and on the 14ha of vineyards. These are divided between Pouilly-Fuissé and Mâcon in the Vergisson commune, in cool spots on east-facing slopes of the Roche du Solutré. Gonon goes the extra mile to do things properly, always having back-vintages of his wines ready to taste when Toby turns up and switching to Diam* corks for us without being asked.

*These are Toby's preferred closures for white Burgundy as they help prevent cork-taint and premature oxidation. Read more on Diam corks here.

Want more inspiration?

Sign up for a carefully-curated selection of recipes, guides, in-depth expertise and much more.

Our website uses cookies with the aim of providing you with a better service. By using this website you consent to The Wine Society using cookies in accordance with our policy.


4.4. Cookie Policy

By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.

The Wine Society uses cookies to enable easy navigation and shopping on the website. We take the privacy of all who use our website very seriously and ensure that our use of cookies complies with current EU legislation. The following guide outlines what cookies are, the types of cookies used on The Society's website and how they work.

You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.

4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?

  • Most major websites use cookies.
  • A cookie is a very small data file placed on your hard drive by a web page server. It is essentially your access card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.
  • Cookies cannot be used by themselves to identify you.
  • The purpose of a basic cookie is to tell the server that you returned to that web page or have items in your basket. Without cookies, websites and their servers have no memory. A cookie, like a key, enables swift passage from one place to the next.
  • Without a cookie every time you open a new web page the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor.
  • More recently, cookies have also been used to collect information about the user which allows a profile of their preferences and interests to be created so that they can be served with interest-based rather than generic information about available goods and services.

4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?

Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.

4.4.3. How does The Wine Society use cookies?

The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.

The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.

4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?

We use the following three types of cookies: Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Authentication Cookie and Anonymous Cookie
    These cookies remember that you are logged in to your account – without them, the website would repeatedly request your login details with each new page you visit during your time on our website. They are removed once your session has ended.
  • Session Cookie
    These cookies are used to remember who you are as you use our site: without them, the website would be unable to tell the difference between you and another Wine Society member and facilities such as your basket and the checkout process would therefore not be able to function. They too are removed once your session has ended. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking Cookies
These cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Unique User Cookie
    This cookie is used to:
    • store your share number in order to identify that you have visited the website before. Without this cookie, we would be unable to tell whether you are a member or not.
    • record your visit to the website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. We use this information to make our website, the content displayed on it and direct marketing communications we may send to you or contact you about more relevant to your interests.
    • This cookie expires after 13 months.
  • Peerius Cookies
    These third-party cookies are used to provide you with personalised recommendations based on your purchase and browsing history. They expire within 4 hours of your visit. Performance/analytical cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Google Analytics Cookies
    These are third-party cookies to enable Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. All information is recorded anonymously. Using Google Analytics allows The Society to better understand how members use our site and monitor website traffic. Authentication Cookie
In order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.

4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?

All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.

4.4.6. Learn more about cookies

4.4.7. Changes to our cookie policy

Any changes we may make to our cookie policy in the future will be posted on the website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check back frequently to see any updates and changes to our cookie policy.