In Pouilly-Fumé and Pouilly-sur-Loire, it’s a tale of two grapes: Sauvignon Blanc and Chasselas, respectively. These two white wines stand out for their liveliness and freshness and show why Centre-Loire is one of the most diverse places in the world for wine.
Located on the right bank of the Loire River, Pouilly-Fumé totals 3,343 acres, while neighboring Pouilly-sur-Loire is just 64 acres. Like elsewhere in Centre-Loire, Benedictine monks played a vital role in the development of the wine industry; records show winemaking dates as far back as the 5th century. Access to the river allowed for a robust shipping trade to develop in the 16th century, and demand for Pouilly wines became widespread in cosmopolitan Paris. The popularity of these wines only grew with the emergence of the railway system in 1861, which allowed for faster and easier transportation.
Limestone and clay are the underpinnings of many of the major soil types in the region. As in Sancerre, the limestone pebbles ‘caillottes’ appear. Terres blanches, a Kimmeridgian limestone-clay marl, covers many of the vineyards. Flint-and-clay compositions also make a welcome home for vines.
The limestone soils, in particular, give a singular smoky sensation to the Sauvignon Blancs of Pouilly-Fumé. Flint and gunpowder meet grapefruit and other citrus fruits on the nose and palate. On the other hand, delicate Chasselas, the dominant grape in Pouilly-sur-Loire, bursts with a bouquet of white flowers, orchard fruit, and almond. A thread of vibrancy and purity ties these two appellations together. What these two wines also have in common is quality; both received AOC status in 1937 to signify their unique sense of place in the Centre-Loire. Today, dedicated winemakers take great pride in continuing to impress wine drinkers around the world with their terroir-expressive wines. There’s much to discover in Pouilly, whether a completely different style of Sauvignon Blanc, or beguiling Chasselas.
Last Updated: September 28, 2022