Wine helps link Mâcon, France, with Macon, Ga.

The experience included a pleasant bouquet and a touch of vanilla.

People from Macon got a small taste of the No. 1 export of Mâcon — our sister city of Mâcon, France, that is — during a wine tasting Tuesday in Wine Cellar at Luigi’s Bistro.

Members of the Mâcon, France, delegation who are in Macon for the Cherry Blossom Festival brought several bottles of an award-winning white wine that’s produced in their city, located in the Burgundy region of France, whose wine is legendary.

“What we have here is the wine lovers of Mâcon, France, and the wine lovers of Macon, Georgia,” said Steve Jukes, chairman of the board of the Cherry Blossom Festival. “It’s a little fellowship, a little wine, and hopefully, a little commercial opportunity between our two sister cities.”

The Mâcon wine-making region encompasses about 400,000 square meters (4 million square feet) of land, producing 2.1 million liters of white wine and 3 million liters of red and rosé wines per year. Half a million people in France are employed in the wine industry, which produces 6 billion liters of wine per year.

Bernard Delaye, president of the Comité des Salons, Concours et Foire, the largest organization of wine tasters in the world, gave a demonstration to about 20 people in attendance, which included local community leaders. Delaye briefly told the history of the Burgundy region and its most famous product, as well as the process of sampling wine.

Delaye, through a translator, said the first thing to do is to examine the color, which in this case was the golden-greenish color of the wine.

The next step is to swirl the wine glass and sniff the aroma of the wine, which Delaye described as a “fragrance of spring flowers and exotic fruit.”

Finally, the wine sampler can drink from the glass, which Tuesday was a mix of fruit with a soupçon of vanilla that came from the cask in which the wine was stored.

Delaye said the wine sampled Tuesday was a perfect accompaniment for fish, seafood and goat cheese, another export from the Mâcon region.

Allan Bass, a local wine consultant for Quality Wines and Spirits, said he enjoyed the wine very much.

“It’s beautiful,” he said. “It’s a classic Burgundy wine. The French are much more subtle in the use of oak. They use neutral barrels, which might have had five, six, seven different vintages in them. It gets a balanced acidity that’s great for the wine.”

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said he hopes to see a wide variety of Mâcon wines available in Middle Georgia.

“You can already find some wines here from Mâcon,” he said. “We went to Kroger and found some different Chardonnays. I hope to see some more wine from Mâcon in the future.”

Reichert said he learned a lot from the wine tasting.

“From now on, I’m going to look for that golden-green color,” he said with a chuckle.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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