Earl Francis Blanchet "Vieilles Vignes" Pouilly Fume 2019 - Loire Valley, France
Varietals: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Hand-harvested. Pressed full cluster; fermented and aged on fine lees in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks. Aromas of white flowers, lemon curd, incense. Supple, almost creamy, yet still lively; limes, kumquats and grapefruit.
The appellation of Pouilly-Fumé sits across the river from the hills of Sancerre, in the eastern Loire Valley. Sauvignon Blanc here is characterized by an unmistakable smoky, flinty aroma—indeed, fumé
means “smoked” in French. Long before “silex” was made into a brand name, it was simply the term used to describe the type of soil found in the best vineyards in the Loire. Since the early 1990s, Francis Blanchet has been bottling wine from 100% silex vineyards. The wine is crisp and light on the tongue, with flavors of Meyer lemons and limes, combined with the flinty aroma that makes Sauvignon Blanc here so special.
Try a glass of this wine alongside a Californian Sauvignon Blanc and you'll understand why the Loire Valley is ideal for growing this grape varietal. It's lighter on fruit than many of its American counterparts, with lively acidity and mushroomy earthy tones. When people taste Blanchet's Pouilly Fumé and discover the complexity, minerals, honey, lime-leaf and chalk, they may be tempted to launch into technical questions about skin macerations and cooperage, barrel fermentations and the like. We hate to disappoint them, but really, this is as simple as winemaking can be. The wine is raised in stainless steel tanks and bottled by Blanchet and his wife with a very light filtration.
The complexity and superb quality of these wines is from the vineyard. Francois Blanchet knows it. Arrange a visit and the first place he will take you is to the vineyards. He superbly crafts his wines from four of the six communes that surround Pouilly-Sur-Loire. Each different soil gives his wines a unique personality. The slopes above Tracy are Argilo-calcaire, and in it he has many old vines, some more than 80 years old. The Vieille Vignes Pouilly Fumé that comes from this soil is richer, and develops floral honey notes. The Silex soil found closer to Pouilly Sur Loire and just above the famous Chateau de Nozet is the site for his Cuvée Silice that reveals minerals and racy fruit.