On 14-15 July 2017 the village of Pouilly-sur-Loire (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!
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