Confused, misunderstood and frequently underestimated, Pouilly-Fuissé and Pouilly-Fumé are worth getting to know. Both are exceptional wines and — perhaps because of the unfortunate commingling of the two — both are great values!
The first hurdle, of course, is the pronunciation: Pooay Fwee-say and Pooay Foo-may. After that, everything else is easy, because these are two completely different wines.
Pouilly-Fuissé is produced from Chardonnay grapes in southern Burgundy’s Côte Mâconnaise. Here the fossiliferous limestone rich soil is covered in alkaline clay, identical to those found further north in the Côte-d’Or — the perfect terroir for Chardonnay.
Four communes — Chaintré, Fuissé, Solutré-Pouilly and Vergisson — make up the appellation. The vines are planted on the slopes of two huge escarpments, whose Jurassic hard-fossil corals have resisted erosion and now enrich these beautiful wines.
Visually, Pouilly-Fuissé may be pale or deep gold, flecked with green. Aromas can be amazingly complex, with mineral notes (silex), almond and hazelnut, citrus notes (lemon, grapefruit, and pineapple), white fruits (peaches), bracken, acacia, breadcrumbs, buttered brioche, and honey. Thanks to the wine’s natural richness, the texture is opulent and structured.
Pouilly-Fumé is produced entirely from Sauvignon Blanc grown in the easternmost region of Loire along the Loire River. The climate is cool continental, meaning winters can be quite cold and summers very warm. Here, you’ll find other Loire white wines, such as Vouvray, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine and Sancerre.
But, the limestone and flinty clay that are indigenous to the Pouilly-Fumé appellation give the wine its instantly identifiable smokey quality — hence the name “Fumé”. Moreover, the vine clusters in this region are small and, at maturity, coated with a grey bloom — again, just like smoke.
Domaine Joël Curveux
Located in the heart of Pouilly-Fuissé, Joël Curveux is a small, family owned vineyard handed down from father to son for four generations. The Curveux vineyards comprise eight hectares spanning the three villages of Fuissé, Solutré and Chaintré.The Mâcon-Fuissé is round and crisp with delicate floral and citrus aromas.
The single vineyards En Recipey and Les Menestrières are set to be reclassified from Village to Premier Cru next year. Meaning, of course, the price will skyrocket. All the more reason to enjoy these outstanding wines now!
Domaine Roc des Boutires
Also in the middle of the Pouilly-Fuissé AOC lies Domaine du Roc des Boutires. The winery’s name draws on both terroir and tradition: its proximity with the Roche de Solutré, an emblem of the appellation and a testament to the extraordinary geologic richness of this vineyard; as well as the domaine’s settlement in the very heart of one of the best terroirs of the appellation – “Aux Bouthières.”
Roc des Boutires was acquired in 2016 by the Parinet family, owners of the Château du Moulin à Vent. It is a modestly sized estate with 4.2 hectares of vines spread across 14 parcels that were planted in the 1970s. Jean-Jacques Parinet, along with his son Edouard, produce fine, poised Chardonnay, with concentrated, harmonious flavor and excellent length.
Domaine Daniel et Julien Barraud
La Roche de Vergisson (The Rock of Vergisson) is hard to miss when driving south from the Côte d’Or to the hamlet of Vergisson. The massive rock looms over the small town like a gigantic ship’s prow. On almost all sides are some of the finest Chardonnay vines in France – in Vergisson that means exclusively Pouilly-Fuissé. This is the epicenter for intense, mineral driven French Chardonnay.
The viticultural history of the Barraud family began in 1905, when Jean-Marie Barraud first purchased parcels in Vergisson, the highest point in the Mâconnais. Since that time, Daniel Barraud, along with his son Julien and wife Martine, have turned his family’s domaine into a benchmark producer of the region and a must-have for all Burgundy lovers.
After finishing law school in 1988, Jean-Jacques Robert changed careers and took over the five hectares of his grandfather’s vineyards in the the Mâconnais just outside the village of Fuissé. The Robert-Denogent parcels consist of old vines — some over 80 years of age — on varied soils of granite, schist, limestone, clay and gravel.
The wines undergo a long, slow élévage in barrel that lasts anywhere from fifteen to eighteen months, then bottled after two winters in barrel. At a fraction of the price of the appellations of Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet, to which they are often compared by aficionados and critics alike, the wines of Robert-Denogent offer wonderful richness, and impressive complexity. Consequently, they are highly-allocated and difficult to find.
TOP POUILLY-FUMÉ ESTATES
Domaine Francis Blanchet
The Blanchet family can count eight generations of winemakers among its ranks. This centuries-plus dedication to the soul of the Loire and the character of Sauvignon Blanc, its native grape, make the Blanchet clan a reliable source for the true voice of this vibrant grape. Interestingly, estate vines, following DNA testing, have proved to be some of the oldest existing clones of Sauvignon Blanc — the true “mother” rootstock of Loire Sauvignon. Many of these vines are massal selection plantings from original rootstock planted by Francis Blanchet’s grandparents.
Winemaker Francis Blanchet cares for his vines sustainably, with the goal of ensuring each vineyard’s unique character and the resonant flavors and aromas of Sauvignon Blanc are expressed honestly in each bottle. The estate regularly plows vineyard rows, and plants beneficial herbs to control weed growth and stimulate vines’ roots to dig deeper into the soil. Grapes are pressed gently in a horizontal, pneumatic press, with juice fed to tanks via gravity. Juice is then fermented on indigenous yeasts and aged in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks, to preserve Sauvignon Blanc’s naturally vibrant aromas and flavors.
Domaine Henri Bourgeois
For over ten generations, the Famille Bourgeois has cultivated their vineyards in the Loire Valley. The family’s estates currently consist of 72 hectares, from the slopes of Chavignol to Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Each plot is isolated and worked in respect of its origin to reveal, in the most precise way, the expression of its terroir.
The Bourgeois Pouilly-Fumé comes from the chalky-clay hills of Saint-Andelain, peak of the appellation where winegrowing dates back to the Roman era. This wine is concentrated and very fruity while also being stylish and elegant — white fruit, light citrus and a long finish.
Domaine des Berthiers
The Pouilly-Fumé vineyards of Domaine des Berthiers are located on the siliceous hillside southwest alongside the Loire river facing the vineyards of Sancerre. The estate is owned by the Fournier family, who have made wine for many generations. Their estate holdings have grown from 5 acres in 1950 to almost 150 acres today, divided over the appellations of Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Menetou-Salon. The Pouilly-Fumé wines produced by Domaine des Berthiers are full-bodied and exhibit the rich, spicy and smoky nuances of the Sauvignon Blanc varietal.
Below our collection of Pouilly-Fuissé and Pouilly-Fumé, along with a select group of lovely Rouge! To order, write [email protected] or call 850-687-1370. Linked products can be ordered directly online.
And a few Sweetheart Deals for Valentine’s Day
2004 Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac. $94.49. 12 bottles
2010 Château Pontet-Canet in Magnum, Pauillac. JS-100 RP-100. $489.99. 1 bottle
2011 Château Pontet-Canet in Magnum, Pauillac. $239.99. 1 bottle
2012 Château Pontet-Canet in Magnum, Pauillac. $239.99. 1 bottle
2005 Château Pichon-Lalande in Magnum, Pauillac. $459.99. 6 bottles
2010 Château Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan. $49.99. 12 bottles
2010 Château Malescot-St-Exupéry, Margaux. $108.99. 6 bottles
2014 Château d’Issan, Margaux. $69.99. 12 bottles
2015 Château d’Issan, Margaux. JS-96. $78.99. 12 bottles
2015 Château Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan. $28.99. 36 bottles
2016 Château Troplong-Mondot, Saint-Émilion. JD-97. $145.99. 6 bottles
2016 Château Troplong-Mondot Imperiale – 6 Liter, Saint-Émilion. JD-97. $849.99. 1 bottle
2017 Château Troplong-Mondot, Saint-Émilion. AG-98+ $99.99. 12 bottles
2016 Château Bernadotte, Haut-Médoc. $18.99. 36 bottles
2016 Château Tronquoy-Lalande, Saint-Estèphe. $32.99. 30 bottles
2018 Château Beychevelle, Saint-Julien. JD 95-97. $84.99. 22 bottles
Also be sure to see wine selections at DOUBLE P IMPORTS.