The most southerly terroir in Bourgogne, covers a 10k-wide strip of vines 35km long, between Sennecey-le-Grand and Saint-Vérand. The region nestles between two valleys, the Grosne to the west and the Saône to the east. This is a wine growing region with two faces. To the southwest of Tournus, the Monts du Mâconnais are a succession of wooded hilltops and little valleys, ideal for vine cultivation.
Further to the south, the hills give way to a grandiose landscape that is dominated by some monumental outcrops, including those of Vergisson and Solutré. The vines can be found on the slopes where soil and sunshine permit.
Here, perhaps more than in any of the Bourgogne region’s other winegrowing areas, the monks played a key role. The abbey of Cluny, founded in 909 by William I, Count of Mâcon, followed the Benedictine tradition with the principle of ora et labora (pray and labor), which drove the monks to create their own vineyards. It was, in part, in reaction to the wealth of Cluny that Robert de Moslesme founded the abbey of Cîteaux in 1098. Although the vines of Cluny were mainly located in the southern part of the current Bourgogne winegrowing region, the monks also owned vines planted further north, notably the celebrated vineyard of Romanée-St-Vivant.
Mâconnais takes its name from the town of Mâcon and is known for good value white wines made from the Chardonnay grape; the wines from Pouilly-Fuissé are especially sought-after.