In some circles, Pouilly-Fuissé wine – made from Chardonnay in France’s Burgundy region – is considered the poor stepchild of the fancier white Burgundies; particularly those from the Côte de Beaune like Montrachet, Meursault, and Corton Charlemagne. In part, that’s because it’s still recovering from the bad reputation in earned in the 1970s for being a lightweight proto-Pinot Grigio.
But when Pouilly-Fuissé is done right, it can be fantastic, not to mention a relative bargain. (Remember we are talking about French Burgundy here, so “bargain” here means you’ll still have to mortgage the house but not also dip into the kids’ college fund.)
The heavy clay and limestone soil of the Mâconnais offers a distinctive terroir for the growing of Chardonnay grapes. The result is that the chalk and clay in the soil works to give a wine like the remarkable Chateau-Fuissé Les Clos Pouilly-Fuissé
$65) both structure and finesse. This is a very elegant wine.
According to winemaker Jean-Jacques Vincent, the Pouilly-Fuissé is fermented in oak barrels for nine months and he doesn’t automatically seek malolactic fermentation. This gives him the flexibility to “fine tune” the acid-alcohol balance of each batch of wine. And that’s precisely what his Pouilly-Fuissé tastes like: a finely tuned wine.
Although it is full-bodied and concentrated, Chateau-Fuissé Les Clos Pouilly-Fuissé is more elegant and less powerful than its Côte de Beaune cousins from the north. It’s a gorgeous gold color with hints of green and scents of toasty, roasted almonds on the nose and a creamy finish. Ripe apple and pear flavors are beautifully balanced by the wine’s crisp acidity, and it is a fine match for a decadent supper of crab and lobster. For a very special treat, I encourage you to try this luscious liquid – it tastes like summer in a bottle.