Macon is the generic appellation for red, white and rose wines from the Maconnais sub-region of southern Burgundy. In contrast to location-specific appellations like Pouilly-Fuisse, Macon wines come from all over the Maconnais and are representative of a particular style and quality, rather than a particular terroir.
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A number of communes within the appellation's catchment area have been recognized as sources of higher-quality wines and may append their names to 'Macon' on their labels. The best-known of these is probably Macon Lugny. While all of these communes may use their names on white wine labels, only two-thirds of them produce red and rose wines of sufficient quality to earn this privilege.
Macon has historically been most famous for its red wines. During the 20th century, however, white wine production accelerated dramatically and now represents the large majority of Maconnais wines. These whites are produced exclusively from the quintessential Burgundian variety Chardonnay.
Red wines sold under the Macon appellation may be made from either Pinot Noir or Gamay. Those produced from Pinot Noir may also be marketed under the more-prestigious Bourgogne AC appellation; consequently, most red Macon wine is actually made from Gamay. This is not the case for rose Macon wines, which might be made from either variety or a combination of both.
Macon-Villages is a title reserved for white wines, while Primeur and Nouveau are suffixes which may be added to fresh-styled rose and white wines released shortly after harvest. To be exact, the law stipulates that these wines may be released 38 days before the third Thursday of November in the year of harvest. The term Superieur may be added to the titles of red or white Macon wines to denote a slightly higher alcohol level.