Pouilly-sur-Loire Wine Festival

On 14-15 July 2017 the village of Pouilly-sur-Loirepouilly fume bottle and glass (58 Nievre, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté), best known for its crisp Sauvignon Blanc Pouilly-Fumé wines, celebrates its wine festival on the banks of the Loire river.

When gathered, the grape is covered by a grey dusty bloom like smokey ashes from the fire. When the grape picker throws the grape into the basket, a cloud of microscopic spores is released, looking like smoke. It is also true that the grape is covered with tiny black dots, making it look “smokey”

It is important not to confuse Pouilly-Fumé (Loire Sauvignon) with Pouilly-Fuissé which is made from Chardonnay in southern Burgundy – or the local Poully-sur-Loire which is made from the Chasselas grape. The two Pouilly appellations are quite distinct!

For more info see www.pouillysurloire.fr/or www.pouilly-fume.com/



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Between Burgundy and Berry, the vineyard of Pouilly stretches over 1,245 ha on the right bank of the Loire. There are different types of soils:

  • Limestones of Villers of Oxfordien (caillottes)
  • Marls with small oysters of Kimméridgien (Terres blanches)
  • Limestones of Barrois of Portlandien (caillottes)
  • Clay-flints of the Cretacé (Flint)
    The appellation area extends over the villages of Garchy, Mesves sur Loire, Pouilly sur Loire, St Andelain, St Laurent, St Martin sur Nohain, Tracy sur Loire in the department of the Nièvre.

The Pouilly Fumé grape is derived from the Sauvignon blanc, with egg-shaped berries in tight clusters resembling tit’s eggs. When mature these berries are covered in a smoke-coloured, grey bloom, which explains why the Pouilly wine growers talk amongst themselves about Blanc fumé (smoked white) to describe the Sauvignon grape or wines produced from it.

The word fumé also refers to the incomparable, universally-recognized aromas and bouquet (or fumet – smokey aroma – the famous gun flint aroma, released by rubbing two flints together), which comes from the outstanding land of Pouilly/Loire vineyards. Les Vignerons de Pouilly

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Water and wine – French vineyards by boat

Barge on the Canal Lateral de la Loire

The Telegraph (19 Aug 08) includes a boat trip up the Rhone Valley as one of its top 10 river cruises:

Navigating France’s mightiest river is a favourite for wine aficionados and foodies. A cruise through Burgundy and Provence gives you the chance to visit vineyards (think Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape), explore Lyon – the gourmet capital of France – and enjoy historic towns such as the fortified city of Avignon and the Roman ruins in Arles. The countryside is equally superb: its fields of lavender and sunflowers were an inspiration for artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, and as the river drains into the Mediterranean you’ll see the famous white horses of the Camargue.

The route includes many worthwhile stops for visits to suit all tastes, but it is also remarkably rich in potential wine visits as you’ll pass through appellations such as Costieres de Nimes, Cotes du Rhone (north and south), Lirac, Tavel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, St Joseph and Hermitage – and if you branch onto the River Saone north of Lyon you can explore Beuajolais and southern Burgundy!

It should come as little surprise that rivers and canals tend to offer good access to good vineyards – vines often grow best on the steep valley sides with their good drainage and aspect to the sun.

A more modest trip than the Rhone, could be a canal trip from Auxerre (89 Yonne, Burgundy) close to Chablis and down the Canal de Bourgogne to Dijon and the Burgundy vineyards; or a trip down the Canal Lateral de la Loire for Sancerre AC, Pouilly-Fumé and Coteaux Giennois. By using the Canal du Nivernais and the Canal de Briare you could even manage a circular route via Auxerre.

Of course, Rick Stein’s French Odyssey was based on a canal trip along the Canal du Midi and the Canal Lateral de la Garonne and included the vineyards of Bordeaux, Cotes du Marmandais, Buzet, Fronton, Minervois, Corbieres and the Coteaux du Languedoc.

For another set of options try Hilary Wright’s book Water into Wine: A Wine Lover’s Journey Through The Waterways of France which also includes itineraries in the lower Loire. Cognac, Alsace, Lorraiine and the Lot.

For more info on the canals of France see the website for VNF (Voies Navigable de la France) now much improved and in English!

Burgundies from the Wine Cave

The Wine CaveThe Yorkshire Dales is one of the most beautiful regions of the UK (I used to live there) – such a large rural area is not over-populated with too many good specialist wine merchants. TheAngel Inn at Hetton is a favourite Bar, Brasserie and Restaurant with rooms in the heart of the Dales, and its offshoot The Wine Cave is an online Burgundy specialist.

“At the Wine Cave we have a simple philosophy that is to make Burgundy accessible to as many people as possible. By virtue of buying good quality wines from small, lesser known producers, we are able to pass on to our customers a level of quality and value for money that is otherwise unheard of in the UK. This is highlighted by our offering no less than six Grand Cru Burgundies for under £36.00!”

The Wine Cave
c/o The Angel Inn, Hetton, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6LT

Tel: 01756 730415 | Fax: 01756 730363 | email: info@winecave.co.uk