What We Say 2006 Premiere Millésimé Pouilly Fume
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Mission Codename: First Vintage, Perfection, Then Repeat!
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire a delicious Pouilly Fumé for our operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier
Wine Subject: 2006 Premiere Millésimé Pouilly Fumé
Winemaker: Arnaud Bouchie
The central vineyards of the Loire Valley is Sauvignon Blanc country with arguably among the best examples of the varietal being molded into the world’s best wines. The Pouilly Fumé appellation sits on the eastern side of the Loire River across from Sancerre. The wines of Pouilly Fumé must be 100% Sauvignon Blanc and like its brethren from across the river are heavily influenced by the Terroir with its limestone, flint and marls composition.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Crystal clear pale yellow with straw yellow highlights. Along the edges, this wine becomes pale clear and when swirled, this springy wine leaves slow medium-thick legs of varying speeds on the side of the glass.
Smell – Bright and fresh with aromatic melon, gooseberry and other green fruit and a touch of tropical passion fruit over a base of flinty minerality and subtle herbal and grassy notes.
Feel – Initially smooth and cool, this dry, medium-to-full-bodied white’s crisp acidity and minerality kick in at mid palate and linger long into the finish.
Taste – Fresh and approachable with layers of tropical, green and citrus fruit that lead the way over layers of soft but present flinty minerality, a touch of smoke, subtle grassy and herbal flavors.
Finish – Long and clean with fresh and crisp acidity and minerality that linger as the the fruit, first the tropical and green and then the citrus fade.
Conclusion – The 2007 Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier Premiere Millésimé Pouilly Fumé is a delicious Sauvignon Blanc that is drinking perfectly right now. Softer in its minerality and acidity when compared to many of its contemporaries, but this softer feel balances perfectly the fresh fruit flavors making this wine extremely approachable and easy to pair with a variety of foods or simply enjoyed on its own.
SUBJECT: Arnaud Bouchuie-Chatellier, winemaker, graduate of Lycée Viticole of Beaune
AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Arnaud. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
ARNAUD BOUCHIE-CHATELLIER: Merci Beaucoup.
WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
ARNAUD: My great grandfather who was one of the first to plant Sauvignon Blanc vines in Pouilly-sur-Loire. He had a willingness to always improve quality through innovation and modern technology while taking into account what we have learned from past.
WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
ARNAUD: The wines at Domaine Bouchié Chatellier is made exclusively by family members. The knowledge of viticulture and winemaking has been passed down from generation to generation from the beginning of last century.
WHITE: Who do you make wine for?
ARNAUD: We emphasize natural wines and enjoy sharing this work of art that nature gives is with those who love wines like we do.
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Pouilly Fumé so special?
ARNAUD: Our soils are silex or flint, we use the selection massale process of propagating sub-varieties of vines that are best suited to our vineyards. Also, the experience of four generations is present in our vineyards and our cellars. This is what gives our wines their uniqueness and character.
WHITE: What is your objective each day?
ARNAUD: We make authentic and natural wines but above all they’re meant to be enjoyed!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier in the Loire Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Winner Silver Medal, International Wine Challenge 2008;
Second place Prowein 2008, France 2008 competition
About This Wine:
Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier’s special reserve, produced only in select years and in small quantities (10,000 bottles) that sell out quickly.
“Premiere Millésimé” 2006 Pouilly-Fumé is a full-bodied and complex Sauvignon Blanc with concentrated fruit (white peach, citrus and gooseberry), herbaceous and gunflint notes, minerality and the acidity required to give the wine balance and structure.
The grapes are harvested by hand from a prime plot high on the Saint-Andelain hill in the Loire Valley, known for its Silex (limestone) soil. The vineyard is next door to the late Didier Dagueneau’s celebrated estate, which is regarded by many as producing the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. (They also sell for 3 to 4 the price as the wines produced by Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier!)
The vines used to produce the wine are between 40 and 50 years old. After the grapes are pneumatically pressed (a gentle process that helps to minimize the tannins caused by crushed skins and seeds), the large solids settle out from the juice by gravity. Indigenous yeasts begin the thermo-regulated fermentation over 3 weeks on the fine lees, which adds complexity and richness to the wine. The wine is then aged for a year for added depth and finesse before release. No oak is used at any stage in the process so the tannins are soft. Nothing interferes with the varietal expression of the Sauvignon Blanc grape and the terroir — that unique combination of climate, topography and soil that distinguishes a Pouilly-Fumé from other Sauvignon Blancs.
Produced in very small quantities (10,000 bottles) that sell out quickly, Premier Millésimé drinks beautifully now and will only improve with age (3 to 5 years). Serve it alone as an apéritif or with goat cheese, seafood and fish. This wine is also delicious with creamy pasta dishes, a seafood or vegetable risotto, and veal.
About The Winery:
Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier is located in the appellation of Pouilly-Fumé, which sits on the opposite side of the Loire River from Sancerre. Only an hour and half by car from Paris, both Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre are famous for crisp, dry white wines made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, with Pouilly-Fumé having a reputation for producing slightly richer, more full-bodied wines than its neighbor. And despite the current rage for Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, the flinty, fruity and herbaceous wines from Pouilly-Fumé continue to set themselves apart.
I first had the opportunity to taste Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier at a wine fair hosted by La Revue du Vin de France each May in Paris’ historic Palais Brongniart (the old stock exchange building). The Domaine was represented by Arnaud Bouchie-Chatellier, a third-generation vinegrower and current director of his family’s domaine. The potent citrus and stone fruit flavors, gunflint notes, minerality and crisp acidity of the Domaine’s wines were striking. I had scheduled a tasting trip to Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in the coming month, and I immediately added Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier to my list of wineries to visit.
The Domaine is located in the village of Saint-Andelain on a hill rising 900 feet overlooking the Loire River. Saint-Andelain is one of the seven villages that comprise Pouilly-Fumé AOC (not to be confused with the similarly-named Pouily-Fuissé AOC, which is located in Burgundy and produces whites made from the Chardonnay grape.) The Domaine has some of the best-situated vineyards in Pouilly-Fumé. Covering just over 29 acres with southern and western exposures, the vineyards share the same hillside as Didier Dagueneau’s famed estate (which many regard as producing some of the best Sauvignon Blancs in the world).
More than other white grape varietals, Sauvignon Blanc is influenced by the climate and soil where it is grown. Although it is situated relatively north, Pouilly-Fumé’s cool climate is moderated by the Loire River. The combined effect gives the wines balance and structure. The Domaine’s vineyards have the perfect amount of flint and clay, both of which are thought to help ripening (the flint absorbs heat and radiates it into the clay). The flint is also believed to influence the flavors and aromas of the wine, including, most notably, the classic gunflint aromas for which Pouilly-Fumé is famous. Fumé, in fact, translates as “smoked” and producers in this region frequently call the Sauvignon Blanc grape Blanc Fumé.
The Domaine uses traditional vine management and cultivating methods. Yields are kept low, and the use of pesticides is minimal. On average, the vine stocks are 30 years old and some are as old as 65 years. The grapes are harvested by hand, and vinification takes place in stainless steel vats with very light filtrations. The choice of stainless steel allows for the purest expression of the grape, while minimal filtrations leave more solid matter in the wine as it matures, which making the wine more complex. The end results are mouthwatering wines that combine crisp acidity with expressive fruit and smoky notes. They are great on their own or with food. Traditional pairings include goat cheese, seafood and fish. These wines are also delicious with creamy pasta dishes and risotto, veal and sushi.
We are currently selling two award-winning wines from Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier: “La Renardière” 2007 Pouilly-Fumé and “Premiere Millésimé” 2006 Pouilly-Fumé.
“La Renardière” 2007 won the Poully-Fumé Trophy at the prestigious International Wine Challenge 2008, London (chosen from among the gold-medal winning wines in the same competition), and a Bronze Medal at the IWSC (International Wine & Spirit Competition) 2008 London. “Premiere Millésimé” 2006 received a Silver Medal at the Challenge International du Vin 2008 (France’s largest international wine competition) and took second place in the France 2008 competition at Prowein 2008
Wine Type: White Wine
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Appellation: Pouilly Fumé