Domaine de la Sarazinière Macon

If summer is the time to leave routines behind and embrace new adventures, then autumn is a welcome transition back into the comfort of tradition, familiarity, and family. As the leaves change color from grassy greens to pumpkin orange and pomegranate red, children head back to school, adults settle back into work for the final quarter of the year, and families come together to celebrate everything from the return of football season to Halloween, and of course, the ultimate family gathering, Thanksgiving.

At our local farmer’s market on Clement Street, I’ll find tables packed with pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and butternut squashes, side by side with another row of tables piled high with perfectly ripe apples, rainbow carrots, persimmons, and pomegranates. And the greens! The once bitter or lifeless swiss chards, radicchio, and escarole are best when picked in cooler temperatures, allowing that subtle sweetness to peek through. But my favorite is the autumn mushrooms - so full of flavor, color, and personality - all they need is a little polenta, pasta, or simply great piece of bread, and you have the perfect fall meal to welcome you into the evening.

Mirroring our return to routine and tradition in the fall is this selection of a traditional grape from a traditional region. This is a beautiful Chardonnay from the Macon region of France that I’m so excited to share with you. Located in the south of Burgundy, this region is experiencing a well-deserved resurgence thanks to a number of young producers’ dedication to traditional farming and winemaking practices, organic farming, and unwavering quest for exceptional quality.

This Chardonnay from Domaine de la Saraziniere, with its flavors of Fuji apple, Meyer lemon, and subtle savory notes of fennel, and a breathtaking perfume of white blossoms, hazelnut, and clove, all topped off with a lingering mineral finish, practically begs you to come back for more. It’s a deliciously sophisticated wine from an underrated region that’s delightful on its own, but would pair perfectly with:

~ Butternut squash, walnut and sage pasta 
~ Whole wheat pasta with walnut sage pesto and roasted delicata
~ Crown roasted pork with lady apples and shallots
~ Roasted chicken legs with potatoes and kale
~ Pumpkin risotto
~ Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixings

Curious to learn more?


“When wine largely revolved around france, the Maconnais was a reliable place to find chardonnay...

They were fruity and more generous than the often-stoic white wines of northern Burgundy.

If they tasted more basic, that was by design.”

~ Former SF Chronicle wine writer, Jon Boné.
(Read more of his perspective here.)

While cheap, basic, and inoffensive may have been the name of the game for a previous generation of vignerons, there’s a new cohort of winemakers working to change the international reputation of this once-maligned region. As a group, they are dedicated to working organically in the vineyards and focusing on specific vineyard sites for each bottling - rather than selling off their grapes in bulk to large Burgundy négociants, as had been the case for so many years.

In fact, for many years, relatively few Macon growers actually bottled their own grapes, leaving the reputation to be soured by the fruity and frankly boring style being pumped out by the négociant labels. This new cohort, however, is poised to take that old bottom shelf reputation and turn it on its head. They are striving for clean, mineral-driven wines that offer complexity - crafting high-quality bottles that have a story to tell.

The father and son team behind this reputable domain, Philippe and Guilaume Trébignaud, are third and fourth generation farmers in the region. Rather than jump on the bulk wine bandwagon like so many others had, this family spent their lives focused on a selection of ideally situated vineyard sites in the Macon region of France.

What makes their specific vineyard sites so ideal? A soil of limestone bedrock that produces a trademark mineral nerve within their wines coupled with old vines that date back to 1926, which Philippe's great uncle Claude Seigneuret planted himself.

Unlike many other producers in the region, the father-son duo has always practiced a traditional approach in the vineyard and in the cellar. Their soils are living and thriving ecosystems thanks in large part to their avoidance of pesticides, herbicides, and heavy machinery, and they see no need to purchase commercial yeasts to impart characteristics that aren’t naturally there.

Their wines are natural, authentic, and traditional - just the way they always have been and the way they like it.