The Maconnais commences immediately south of Montagny in the north and stretches southwards as far as the dramatic limestone outcrops of Solutré and Vergisson, whereafter it morphes into the Beaujolais at the boundary between the administrative departments of the Saône et Loire and the Rhône. It is a landscape of rolling hills, increasing in height towards the south, and the vineyards are planted in roughly two north-south strips, though they are more dispersed than in the Côte d’Or. Whilst best known for its white wines from the Chardonnay variety – the village of Chardonnay from which the grape takes its name is actually within the region – both red and rose wines may also be made from Pinot Noir and Gamay, though the appellation Macon-Villages is reserved for white wines. A number of communes may append their name, as in Macon-Lugny, Macon-Uchizy or indeed Macon-Chardonnay, in recognition of their superior wines. A further qualitative grade drops the Macon prefix altogether. These are Viré-Clessé in the north, and Pouilly-Vinzelles, Pouilly-Loché and Pouilly-Fuissé in the south. The outlying districts of these latter three give a further appellation, St.Veran, introduced in 1971 to replace much wine previously labelled as Beaujolais Blanc. Many top producers of Pouilly-Fuissé have holdings of St.Veran which are worth looking out for.
White Macon is archetypal Chardonnay, broader and sometimes richer in the north than the Chardonnays produced in the Cote d’Or and Cote Chalonnais, and intensely mineral and classic in the southern appellations. The region is known for its excellent value, though prices for the most sought-after artisan producers, particularly in the south, are quite significantly higher than those of the larger-scale operators. The excellent co-operative and Lugny-St.Genoux is the source of much of the Macon-Villages found commercially in the UK, and many of the Beaune negoçiants, most obviously Louis Latour, also have a strong presence here.