All the OCW terms I need to know, along with links into the Jancis Robinson site are now in a spreadsheet, along with what section they’re from, their relative importance, and in some cases if they relate to a region, grape or style of wine. For all the manual work, I don’t think I actually learned anything. Then again, this week is more about putting the structures into place to better be able to absorb the material needed, and determining just what that material is.
More importantly, I picked up a nice bottle to go with the chicken that’s currently roasting in the oven. For the vast majority of the world, I have very few reference points with regards to individual producers (though that is changing and should do more so over the next four weeks), and even for those few areas with which I can associate a producer, often it’s more because of their size and distribution channels than for the quality of their wine. Within France I’m especially bad, though a recent trip there did wonders.
The wine tonight is Seguin-Manuel Pouilly-Fuissé “Vieilles Vignes” 2010 from “Appellation Pouilly-Fuissé Contrôlée”. There are a number of other bits of text on the label, but those are the most important as far as what’s in the bottle. I don’t know this producer, but a quick glance at the Domaine Seguin Manuel website shows them to be based in Beaune and that they produce a variety of reds and white from appellations in Burgundy. For this bottle, I’ll try to work out from the label.
Pouilly-Fuissé is an appellation within Mâconnais at the very southern tip just before the region turns into Beaujolais. That puts it within Burgundy, at the southern end, and Burgundy of course is in eastern France, about one third the distance to Geneva to the east as it is to Paris to the northwest. The appellation only produces still white wines, made from Chardonnay. Within Burgundy (especially if you don’t count Beaujolais, which many in Burgundy don’t), the Mâconnais is the warmest region and gets the most sun, which gives their wine a different character from other Burgundian Chardonnays such as from Chablis or even Côte de Beaune. Just knowing the AoC, even not knowing the producer, I’d expect this to be a full bodied wine with buttery flavours and some ripe fruits, rather than minerality and sea shells you might get much further north in Burgundy.
In the glass, this wine does not disappoint on the promise given by the label. It is full and rich, and while I don’t taste any peach that some might expect from Pouilly-Fuissé, I certainly get lemon, butter, and some toasted pecans and almonds. Full student grade note is as follows.
Clear and bright, medium yellow colour with thick, quick legs given a swirl.
Clean, medium intensity, developing, with notes of cashew, lemon, toast, butter, and almond.
Dry, with medium-plus acidity, medium-minus alcohol, medium-plus body, and medium-plus flavour intensity. The palate matches the nose with butter, almond, lemon, and toast. The finish is medium-plus, with a slight brininess which was actually very pleasant.
This is a very good quality wine – the acidity, intensity of flavour and body were all medium-plus in an intense but balanced way. The alcohol level was not as high, but it didn’t leave the wine tasting as though it was missing anything and leaving the grapes to ripen further might have resulted in lower acidity and fruits in the tropical spectrum. The length was good at medium-plus. I could have done with slightly more complexity, but this is a young wine and hasn’t had a chance to develop many secondary characteristics.
I think I’m going to give up on trying to speculate on what I would have guessed this wine to be had I not seen the label, as for the purposes of this blog I’m not likely to be served many blind. That said, it is what I would expect from Mâconnais in that it is a full style for a Chardonnay, perhaps as close to a New World style as you’re likely to find under AoC within France.
This wine cost just over $50.00 which I think was fair, given the quality level and the miles it has traveled. That said, there are many New World Chardonnays of a similar style and quality level available for a much lower price.
Readiness to drink – drink now, will keep for 5 years. I think this wine is beyond youthful even though it was only made last year. The buttery and nutty notes are what drive it, and they may be supplemented with some honey in the coming years, but I don’t think it will hugely improve with time.