Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Pouilly-Fuissé versus Pouilly-Fumé

Anyone who has done any formal training on wine will know that the first country that you learn about is France as it is still the epicentre of the wine world and from where most of the classic grape varietals that we know and love are from.

Of course the naming of wines in France, as in the rest of the old world is about place rather than grape variety which can often lead to some confusion and the above is one of my favourites. The reason being is that despite having very similar names Pouilly-Fuissé and Pouilly-Fumé are two entirely different wines. They are both white wines but taste quite different. I would think that most people would be able to tell them apart after tasting both. But this does not seem to prevent the confusion.

La Roche de Solutre above Pouilly
Pouilly and Fuissé - Got it!
Pouilly-Fuissé is part of the Maconnais in the southern Burgundy region and is entirely made from Chardonnay grapes. No other varieties are permitted in the appellation that dates back to 1936. The area is dominated by the limestone escarpment of La Roche de Solutre (opposite) that towers over the area. There are 3 different communes that are covered by the AOC. They are Chaintre, Fuissé, Solutre-Pouilly and Vergisson.

But nevermind all this nonsense, what does it taste like. Well to my mind Pouilly is classic, no nonsense Burgundy Chardonnay, often quite oaky, but with elegant overtones. It is the kind of wine that needs food to match. It may overpower some seafood but I suggest Monkfish or lighter white meat dishes. Also great with Asparagus. If you like heavier Chardonnay rather than Chablis it is well worth a try. Although you will be paying at least £15 for a bottle and up to £35 for a really good one.

And so to Pouilly-Fumé a fabulous wine from the eastern end of the Loire Valley Region, sometimes known as the Central Vineyards region. (I think you can now tell which is my favourite). Most people are aware of Sancerre which is on the opposite bank of the Loire river and makes the worlds most well regarded Sauvignon Blanc. Well Pouilly-Fumé is also made from Sauvignon Blanc and is pretty fine stuff in my view. Sancerre can be a little rich for the blood of most pockets but Pouilly-Fumé can be picked up for just more than £10 and the really special ones for less than £20.

If you love Sauvignon and let's face it most of us do it's well worth a try. Pouilly-Fume has been an AOC since 1937. The wine produced is typical zingy Sauvignon but with a lovely minerality on the palate that is hard to beat. Great with some fresh seafood as simple as a fresh piece of cod but can easily be drunk as a lunchtime ar afternoon aperitif. And I often do. Just yummy.

The Vineyards of the Loire Valley Region with Pouilly at the far eastern end
Well there you have it. The difference between Pouilly-Fuissé and Pouilly-Fumé as clear as I can make it in a short blog. Not wines I would expect you to be drinking everyday, more a little treat for once a while. But both extremely delicious, although my favourite would have to be the Sauvignon.

That is it for now. Hopefully I will be back soon with another blog. If you would like to meet me in person and home is in the UK why not take a look at my website www.gloryofwine.com. Maybe you need an excuse for a party involving tasting some lovely wines. Do get in touch.

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Until next time, enjoy your wine. Cheers!