By Celia Strong
It seems we have to be flexible this holiday. What was going to be our lesson for this week has just been changed.
Why? Because it would not be nice to not let everyone know about a new deal. Luckily, though, our new deal wine will still be usable for our holiday dinners.
For this wine, we are going to be going back in time a bit, to the last time we had one on deal: a Pouilly-Fuissé from the Burgundy region of France.
Unfortunately, over the years, the wines from Pouilly-Fuissé have crept up and up in price, which is probably why we only talk about them when they’re on deal. But, let’s review some more so we can all really appreciate what we have here.
Pouilly-Fuissé is an appellation from the southern part of its region, the Mâcon area. It received AC status in 1936.
Unlike most of the rest of Burgundy and its appellations, when the specifications for the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation were being written, the local producers and growers did not apply for any Premier Cru or Grand Cru status. Oh, well.
Despite there not being any designated better sites known for producing better grapes, there are some recognized higher quality acres. Still, without higher legal status, the wines from Pouilly-Fuissé cannot sell for the higher prices. Up though these prices are, they’re just not as up as white wines from northern Burgundy.
The appellation laws of Pouilly-Fuissé say these wines have to be 100 percent Chardonnay.
They are allowed to make about 528 gallons for about every acre of vines and the wines must have a minimum of 11 percent alcohol.
The soils of the Mâcon area are limestone, with lots of calcium and calcereous clay, soils that Chardonnay loves.
The landscape is known for the rock of Solutré. Centuries ago, an ancient tribe that lived in Burgundy would run wild horses up to the top of this rock and make them crash onto the ground below. Gruesome, for sure, but it helps explain all the limestone and calcium in the soil.
A confusing part of this appellation is there is no town called Pouiily-Fuissé. There are four smaller communes (Chaintré with 1.28 square miles of vineyards, Vergisson with 2.23 square miles, Fuissé with 1.86 and Solutré-Pouilly with 2.38) that can all label their wines with this appellation. There are 1,871 acres of vines here, the largest of any Burgundy appellation.
The flavors of Pouilly-Fuissé include smoky yellow fruits with exotic spices and nuts.
Our Pouilly-Fuissé comes from a small family grower and producer. Domaine Sangouard-Guyot. Pierre-Emmanuel Sangouard took over his grandfather’s wine estate in 1997. His wife is Catherine Guyot. They work their land by hand. Actually, some of their vineyards are in Solutré and Vergisson, but they are not looking to get too big because they would lose their ability to work all their vines by hand.
Harvest is by hand and the grapes are fermented separately by where they come from.
Wines are blended, sometimes, and bottled about two years after harvest.
They make several different Pouilly-Fuissés. Ours is called Terroirs.
This wine is made from grapes from several plots in Vergisson, where the grapes are known for ripe fruit flavors and minerality. It is made from vines that are an average of 40 years old.
Technically, and by French law, it can be labeled “Old Vine.”
The grapes are fermented and one third of the wine is aged for 10 months in temperature controlled tanks. This gives the finished wine liveliness and freshness.
The other two-thirds is aged in 7- to 8-year-old barrels for eight months, which gives the finished wine a generous roundness and fullness. And then bottling is in April.
Terroirs is straightforward, rich and complex; silky and crisp at the same time. Its nose is fruity with mineral fragrances. And its flavors are baked golden delicious apples, stewed pears, herbs, almonds, nutmeg and more. Layers and layers of flavors, more each sip you take. That’s a sign of complexity, which is why this wine costs more. Usually. But, a deal is a deal.
For $16.97, this wine is less than its usual wholesale price. Less than wholesale!
Worth celebrating. And delicious for a special holiday meal. Enjoy.