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Pouilly-Fuissé (poo-yee fwee-SAY) is an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) for a subregion of Burgundy located in Mâconnais, known for its white wine. The villages of Fuissé and Solutré-Pouilly give this wonderful chardonnay its name.
Prior to 1936 when this AOC was created, the area was known only as Pouilly; when the new AOC laws were enacted, the area was split into Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Loché and Pouilly-Vinzelles.
Pouilly-Fuissé is the best known section of Mâconnais. While it produces luscious chards, there are no Premier Cru vineyards as the local growers never applied for the designation.
Pouilly-Fuissé covers over 2000 acres of hillside vineyards, situated on limestone-rich clay soils over a hard granitic base. The 1640-foot limestone escarpment known as the Roche de Solutré (Solutré Rock, designated a great site of France) is located at the heart of the appellation’s vine-growing area and it towers over the vineyards below.
Vineyards such as La Roche, Les Vignes Blanches, Aux Chaillous and Les Crays complete the appellation of Pouilly-Fuissé. Since no Premier Crus exist, the quality is indicated by the reputation of the producer and their vineyard. The grapes from these and other vineyards create typically a dry, pale, full-bodied, ripe and elegant Pouilly-Fuissé with a nice oak presence. The main characteristics in this wine are described as being slightly creamy and buttery, with full and crisp fruit flavors. The finish on this wine is long and lingers on the palate.
As they say in those commercials: BUT WAIT, the 1970s was not the decade that French winemakers look back on with pride. Chemistry, technology and a bumper crop of herbicides and fertilizers produced diluted, acidic wines that were overpriced. Pouilly-Fuissé became a poster child for this disaster, and that reputation was very hard to overcome. But with a new generation of farmers, growers and producers, a new respect both for the grape and the terroir was established.
According to the NY Times the following are some notable Pouilly-Fuissés that are ready to drink:
BEST VALUE Jean-Jacques Vincent & Fils Pouilly-Fuissé Marie-Antoinette 2006, weighty yet focused with smoky fruit and mineral flavors. (Importer: Frederick Wildman & Sons, New York) $26
Denis Jeandeau Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes 2006, rich yet precise with juicy, refreshing fruit and a lovely texture. (Angels’ Share Imports, Brooklyn) $50
Guffens-Heynen Pouilly-Fuissé 2005, Almost Chablis-like, dominated by mineral aromas and flavors with just a touch of richness. (The Stacole Company, Boca Raton, Fla.) $65
Jean-Jacques Litaud Domaine des Vieilles Pierres Pouilly-Fuissé Cuvée Tradition 2006 Rich, balanced, ripe fruit flavors. (Fruit of the Vines, New York) $23
Remember, like Chianti in Italy, Pouilly-Fuissé is a region, not a grape. And this region produces white wine that ages very well. Pouilly-Fuissé should be at least 5 years old and in proper conditions can be aged for up to 20 years.
So, call me and let’s get together for a great afternoon savoring Pouilly-Fuissé accompanied by about 2 dozen oysters.
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