Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In the Most Prestigious AOC in the Mâconnais: Pouilly-Fuissé, France

Picture: In Pouilly-Fuissé

Pouilly-Fuissé is a wine, known all over the world. When I was in the area earlier this year, I for sure had to drink a Pouilly-Fuissé and check out the vineyards and villages were Pouilly-Fuissé is being produced.

Here are some basics: (1) Pouilly-Fuissé AOC is part of the Mâconnais, which is part of the Bourgogne. (2) In 1936, when the Pouilly-Fuissé AOC was created, 3 “Pouilly” AOCs were created: Pouilly-Fuissé AOC and Pouilly-Loché AOC plus Pouilly-Vinzelles AOC. (3) In 1971, the Saint-Veran AOC was created; it sandwiches the Pouilly-Fuissé AOC.

Pictures:We stayed at and had dinner at Chateau de la Barge, for more, see: Dinner at Restaurant Chateau de la Barge in Creches sur Saone in Burgundy, France

All these AOCs are located in the extreme south of the Mâconnais subregion and of the Burgundy wine region as a whole.

Mâconnais

The Mâconnais in the Bourgogne takes its name from the provincial town of Mâcon. Most of the wine made in the Mâconnais is white wine. Chardonnay is the main grape grown.

Picture: Macon

Unlike the Cote d'Or to the north, where a densely planted strip of vineyards runs through the countryside, the vineyards of the Maconnais are more sparsely planted and interspersed with land dedicated to other forms of agriculture.

Macon has historically been most famous for its red wines. During the 20th century, however, white wine production accelerated dramatically and now represents the large majority of Maconnais wines. These whites are produced exclusively from the quintessential Burgundian variety Chardonnay.

Macon Appellations

These are the Macon appellations.

Bourgogne AOC – Interestingly, red wine made from Pinot Noir in Macon is typically sold under the more-prestigious, but broader Bourgogne AOC appellation.

Macon AOC - the generic appellation for red, white and rose wines from the Maconnais. The term Superieur may be added to denote a slightly higher alcohol level.

Macon plus name of village AOC: a number of communes within the appellation have been recognized as sources of higher-quality wines and may append their names to that of the appellation; for example, Macon Lugny.

Mâcon-Villages AOC - a title reserved for white wines.

Pouilly-Fuissé AOC
Pouilly-Loché AOC
Pouilly-Vinzelles AOC

Saint-Veran AOC

Vire-Clesse AOC – introduced in 1999.

Pouilly-Fuissé AOC

Pouilly-Fuissé is an AOC for white wine produced in the communes of Fuissé, Solutré-Pouilly, Vergisson and Chaintré. The AOC was created in 1936. The area - before known simply as "Pouilly - was split into three AOCs: Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Loché and Pouilly-Vinzelles.

Pictures: The Pouilly-Fuissé Vineyards

The Pouilly-Fuissé vineyards total 750 hectares; the Pouilly-Loché and Pouilly-Vinzelles vineyards are much smaller.

While Pouilly-Fuissé is the best-known part of Mâconnais, there are no Premier Cru or Grand Cru vineyards within the AOC.

The AOC regulations only allow Chardonnay to be used. The allowed base yield is 50 hectoliter per hectare and the grapes must reach a maturity of at least 11.0 per cent potential alcohol.

The Beaujolais King George Deboeuf grew up in Pouilly-Fuisse.

Pouilly-Fume is an AOC further up north in the Loire region, on the opposite side of the Loire from Sancerre.  It has nothing to do with Pouilly-Fuissé. Only Sauvignon Blanc is made here.

Pouilly-Fuissé Climats/Lieux-dits

In the wine world, lieu-dit is something like a single vineyard, the smallest piece of land which has a traditional vineyard name assigned to it. In some cases, lieux-dits appear on wine labels, in addition to the AOC name. This is most commonly seen for Alsace wine and Burgundy wine. In the Bourgogne, the term climat is used interchangeably with lieu-dit.

The climats of Pouilly-Fuissé are:

Chaintré : Les Chevrières, Le Clos Reyssier, les Plantes Vieilles, en Cenan
Fuissé : Les Vignes Blanches, Vers Cras, Le Clos, Les Brûlés, Les Perrières, Les Combettes
Solutré-Pouilly : En Servy, La Frérie, Aux Chailloux, Aux Morlays, Vers Cras, Au Clos
Vergisson : Les Crays, La Maréchaude, En Carmentrant, En Bulland

Picture: 2008 Pouilly-Fuissé, Solutré-Pouilly, En Servy

Pouilly-Loché AOC and Pouilly-Vinzelles AOC

Pouilly-Loché and Pouilly-Vinzelles are located adjacent to the appellations Pouilly-Fuissé.

Pouilly-Loché AOC vineyards total 32 hectares and the Pouilly-Vinzelles AOC vineyards 52 hectares.

The AOC regulations only allow Chardonnay to be used. The allowed base yield is 50 hectoliter per hectare and the grapes must reach a maturity of at least 11.0 per cent potential alcohol. The three neighboring appellations all produce white wines of a similar style.

Saint-Véran AOC

Saint-Véran is a relatively new AOC, which sandwiches the Pouilly-Fuissé AOC.

The Saint-Véran AOC extends over 8 communes and is divided into two small islands separated from each other by the Pouilly-Fuissé appelation. It is made up of the villages of Davayé, Prissé and Solutré-Pouilly in the north, and Chânes, Chasselas, Leynes, Saint-Amour and Saint-Vérand in the south.

The Saint-Veran appellation covers 645 hectares. The maximum yield is 55 hectolitres/hectare, which is higher than in the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation.

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