Saint-Veran is an appellation in the far southern Mâconnais, the most southern region of Burgundy, that straddles the border between “proper” Burgundy and Beaujolais. While Beaujolais is technically part of Burgundy for administrative purposes, its climate, topography, soils and grapes (for reds, anyway) are quite different. Still, the two regions do abut one another and the granite soils that Gamay Noir favors and the limestone soils that Pinot Noir favors don’t divide along a nice clean line, but, rather, form a patchwork with still more areas where it's evenly split between the two. The wine at hand is Chardonnay, however, and Chardonnay is a versatile grape that isn’t limited to growing only on limestone soils, and before the creation of the St-Veran appellation in 1971, the majority of Beaujolais Blanc, which was and remains limited to Chardonnay, came from this area. The St-Veran appellation is for Chardonnay only and its regional affiliation was transferred to Burgundy from Beaujolais so the label will say Bourgogne along with St-Veran. It could also, if the winery owner chose to, be labeled Beaujolais Blanc or Bourgogne Villages Blanc. In practice, however, they never are as the St-Veran appellation and its affiliation with Burgundy is now much more well known in the market.
Started in 1975 by Robert Martin, the family-owned domaine has now been in control of son Damien for over ten years, and, as is standard with family-owned vineyards, the farming is done in a sustainable manner which, in this case, is certified. The vines are more than 35 years old, concentrating the flavors of this highly mineral driven wine; the flavors of yogurty apple with a touch of tropical fruit, floral and coriander spice notes take a back seat to the stones. A rich texture is achieved despite the moderate alcohol and lack of oak flavors, as is the norm in Saint Veran. Grilled chicken or white fish would do well.