DELICIOUS CHARDONNAY IN POUILLY-FUISSÉ

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Pouilly-Fuissé (LINK) is a small subregion within the Mâconnais area of southern Burgundy. It is about 50 km north of Lyon, a few km west of the Sâone River. It consists of five villages which are from north to south, VergissonSolutré, Pouilly, Fuissé, and Chantré. The different towns and their surroundings have different combinations of clay and limestone soils which, along with slopes and exposure to sun account for the differences in the wines.

The only grape, or cépage is Chardonnay. There are no red wines produced here. When I lived in the Unites States, I had only a vague notion of Pouilly-Fuissé as a nice wine one often found on restaurant wine lists and among the mid-range priced Chardonnays at some wine shops. These sources rarely, if ever, give you any notion of the origins of these wines, or the fact that there are five distinct styles of Pouilly-Fuissé in existence. Eric Asimov covered this territory in the NYTimes in 2015 (LINK). I would say that the sense of what Pouilly-Fuissé is has clarified somewhat since he wrote that piece.

Pouilly Frisse Wine Map

The Pouilly-Fuissé wines are often confused with Pouilly-Fumé and Pouilly-sur-Loire, two Loire Valley white wines made from Sauvignon Blanc. Also, an adjoining appellation, Pouilly-Vinzelles and Pouilly-Loche (LINK) share a slope with the Chantré section of Pouilly-Fuissé. Those wines, also Chardonnay, are very similar to the Pouilly-Fuissé wines.

Pouilly-Fuissé wines are generally a step above the local Mâconnais Village Chardonnays, and a step or two below the Burgundian Chardonnays from the area around Côte du Beaune farther north. There are, of course, exceptions in both directions. Some of the Pouilly-Fuissé wines stand up to Burgundy’s best wines and are an incredible value. The challenge is finding a decent selection on the shelf or wine list in the US and Canada.

Dorianne and I did a tasting at L’Atrium in Solutré, a wine shop representing about a dozen wineries from each of the five towns of the Pouilly-Fuissé region. Wines here cost between 16 and 40 euros, with most around 20 euros.

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We tasted representative 2018 wines from each of the five towns and noted significant differences in the wines. We both liked the wine from Fuissé the best, it had a nice blend of fruit and mineral, with a very pleasant mouthfeel. The wine from Pouilly was our 2nd choice. We purchased several wines from these two towns to take home. Pouilly-Fuissé wines are best aged from 3 to 6 years but are drinkable right away. The versions of the other three wines were a bit lacking in one or more qualities – but they were still very drinkable wines.

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The area is among the most beautiful in France and worth a detour to spend some time here and taste and purchase the wines.

 

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

 

NOTE: I will be blogging more about the MUST-Fermenting Ideas Wine Summit (LINK) over the next few weeks. I was just in the Mâcon area and wanted to get this post in while it is fresh in my mind.

2 thoughts on “DELICIOUS CHARDONNAY IN POUILLY-FUISSÉ

  1. Great informative post Jim! I will be on the lookout for wines from this region, although I believe it will be difficult to buy good ones at the price point (or even near it) you focused on. Pouilly-Fuisse wines were all the rage here in the major cities in the U.S. back in late 1960s and early 1970s–then it just faded I believe as California chardonnays came into their own. Thanks to you that region is on my bucket list!

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