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Vire-Clesse is a relatively new appellation of southern Burgundy and the most recently created of the region's communal titles. It covers the communes of Vire and Clesse, plus their immediate neighbors, Laize and Montbellet. The catchment area of the title sits midway between the towns of Tournus in the north and Macon in the south, with its eastern side bound by the Saone river.
Created in February 1999 and retrospectively applicable to the 1998 vintage, the Vire-Clesse appellation was intended to single out a small area not covered by the more-prestigious Pouilly titles, but capable of producing white wines of quality. The appellation's laws permitted only the driest of white wines (those with less than 3g/L of residual sugar), which precluded several local producers from claiming the appellation for their traditional wine styles. Wines that are anything less than bone dry must be labeled as Macon or Macon Villages. With their low levels of residual sugar, Vire-Clesse wines are as dry as the famously austere wines of Chablis.
Vire-Clesse wines are produced exclusively from the Chardonnay grape variety. They are similar in style to those made by their immediate neighbors around Pouilly (if slightly drier), being the product of a moderate climate and soils with a high proportion of limestone and clay.
The classic Vire-Clesse wine offers aromas of acacia flowers and exotic fruits, with the best examples having a mineral, flinty undertone known as pierre a fussil (gunflint).