Macon-Villages is an appellation covering white wines produced in selected communes of the Maconnais wine area of southern Burgundy. The appellation represents a step up in quality from the standard Macon title and specializes in dry white wines made from the Chardonnay grape variety.
The named Macon-Villages communes are permitted to add their names to the Macon appellation on labels – for example, Macon Lugny or Macon Fuisse – or to call their wines simply Macon-Villages. If a wine is produced from grapes grown in more than one of the named communes, then its loses the right to claim a particular name and must be labeled Macon-Villages.
The villages in question are spread throughout the Maconnais region, with a slight bias towards the hillsides to the west of Macon town. The more northerly villages are spread further apart, divided by patches of woodland, whereas the hillier area to the south is much more densely covered with vineyards. These hillsides offer the best of the Maconnais terroir, and it is here that the prestigious villages of Pouilly, Vinzelles and Loche are located.
Overall, the landscape of the Maconnais is one of rolling limestone hills, bordered in the east by the Saone river as it flows south to meet the Rhone just outside Lyon. The climate shows signs of the region's proximity to the Rhone Valley, with warmer average temperatures than the rest of Burgundy, lower rainfall and – perhaps most significantly – less risk of vine-damaging spring frosts. Chardonnay ripens more successfully here than further north and the wines it produces are markedly richer than those from Chablis – the northernmost Burgundian appellation.
The typical Macon-Villages wine is lightly floral and fruity, with a warm hint of citrus fruit. The best examples have a gently nutty character, reminiscent of almonds or hazelnuts.