One of the purest expressions of the chardonnay grape can be found in its native region in eastern France. Chardonnay is the name of a tiny village, located about halfway between Lyon and Dijon in a district of Burgundy known as the Maconnais. More famous towns further north, like Meursault and Chassagne-Montrachet, can coax more intensity from this grape, making oakier wines that command attention and practically demand haute cuisine.

Meanwhile, the rolling hills of the Maconnais produce lighter, softer wines that are more easy-going and far less expensive, wines that are just as happy with popcorn or potato chips as they are with smoked salmon or escargots.

Those grown in region’s top 26 municipalities are entitled to distinguish their wines as not simply Macon, but Macon-Villages. While they are always made with 100% chardonnay, these affordable “white Burgundies” don’t taste much like California chardonnay. Almost all are unoaked wines fermented and aged in stainless steel that taste lighter, drier, and milder in flavor than American versions, with brighter acidity and lower alcohol.

If California chardonnay tastes more like apple pie or butter-pecan ice cream, French Macon-Villages wines like this one taste fresher and less dessert-like. They are as refreshing as a chilled tree-ripened pear on a hot day, with understated accents reminiscent of pine nuts and unsweetened chamomile tea.

Georges DuBoeuf Macon-Villages Burgundy, France

$15.99; 13% alcohol

PLCB Item #5553

Sale price through Oct. 4 – regularly $18.99

Also available at:

West Deptford Super Buy Rite in West Deptford, N.J. —$13.99

Joe Canal’s in Lawrenceville, N.J. — $19.99