2008 Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes
Chardonnay •Appellation Pouilly-Fuissé Contrôlée
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The land of Ausonius
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire a limited production and exclusive Pouilly-Fuissé
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Olivier Larochette
Wine Subject: 2008 Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes
Winemaker: Olivier Crocheter
Backgrounder: Pouilly-Fuissé, located on the southern end of the Mâconnais (about 25 miles south of Beaune) is an ancient winegrowing region it a history that dates back nearly 1600 years. While there are no premier crus in the Pouilly-Fuissé or its satellite appellations, some of the region’s climats are very highly regarded for exceptional Chardonnay. Most notably Pouilly-Fuissé is pale, crisp and refreshing with the best producers creating wines with rich flavors and firmer structures.
Today’s selection is made from Chardonnay vines that are at least 35 years old with the designation of Vieilles Vignes.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Pale golden yellow with brilliant clarity and straw reflexes in its core. The color remains to the edge and when swirled slow fat legs hang for a moment before falling to the wine below.
Smell – Bright but also restrained fruit including peaches, dried apricot and quince; add to this toasted oak and hazelnuts, orange blossom and a hint of yeasty toast and soft oak.
Feel – Medium to full-bodied, well structured with lively tart acidity and flinty minerality that frames the fruit and leaving a tartness that lingers into the finish.
Taste – Flavors of tart citrus, peach, green pears and some tart star fruit along with dried apricot and toasted hazelnuts blend with a soft but present toasted oak and a yeasty bread component. Hints of characteristic honey and white floral notes adds pleasant complexity.
Finish – Long and clean with this wines tart fruit and vibrant acidity mingling with flinty minerality as the green tree and citrus fruits fade.
Conclusion – The 2008 Olivier Larochette Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes is a fantastic wine that shows the varietal character of Chardonnay wonderfully. Not overly oaked or buttery but not absent of those components either. Most notably, the tart fruit and lingering acidity keeps this wine ultra refreshing and clean on the palate. We paired this wine with a selection of fresh sheep and goat cheeses.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Olivier Larochette
WINE EDUCATION: Lycé Viticole Davayé 1985/1987.
WINE JOB BRIEF: Started in 1989 to be a simple producer on a very small estate. My first vintage was 1992, I created my own brand Domaine Larochette-Manciat, I started to sell my production abroad in 1993. Step by step the estate grew up until 2002. I was the manager and the wine maker of Domaine Larochette-Manciat, selling all my production over several countries, US, UK, JAPAN, HOLLAND, BELGIUM…
In 2003, I took over the estate from my ex family in law, which was Domaine Manciat Poncet until 2007. I have been the manager and the wine maker for the two brands, selling also in Canada, Denmark, Sweden…In 2007 I got divorced and I sold my part of the property to my ex wife. I started again in at the end of 2008 a new company on my own name : Olivier Larochette. I don’t produce any grape now, I take advantage of my knowledge and my excellent relationship with my ex-colleagues, all of them are friends that I know from primary school. I select my grapes amongst the best terroirs from the best producers all over Maconnais’s area. I got a “coup de Coeur” on the 2011 HACHETTE GUIDE for my selection of VIRÉ-CLESSÉ 2007.
I’m working now on the development of my new brand, I got stated again in USA, Canada, Denmark with new distributers.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: I work with people I know perfectly, I need to trust people and that people trust me as well. On that way it’s easier to find agreement with producers who respect the nature by using as less as possible of chemical on vines. Some of them are approved as organic producers. My way of thinking is to always propose the very best quality at the very best price.
We are parts belonging to the same chain, we have to work together in order to make this chain working, from the producer up to the final consumer.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Pouilly-Fuissé 1992
AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Olivier. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Vieilles Vignes Poulley-Fuisse today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
OLIVIER: Thank you for featuring my lovely wine.
WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
OLIVIER: I was born in 1967 in the Pouilly-Fuissé’s area. A part of my family were producers. When I was a teen ager, I used to work in vines with my grand-fathers and uncles as a summer job. I really loved this time, working outdoor and seeing buds becoming leaves and grapes, it was a kind of magic in that! It’s also a question of flavors, blossoms of the grapes have a so delicate perfume… The smell of the freshly cut grapes arriving in the press machine, and the smell of fresh pressed juice are such amazing. The following stages with the atmosphere of fermenting juices were also great moments. I have been in this world for ever, It belongs to me and I belong to it.
WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
OLIVIER: I don’ think I got influenced by any style. I was born at the place, I could have been born in Chile or South Africa, I brought my personality and my sensibility to my wines. I love wines from all over the world…as long as they are well done of course.
WHITE: Who do you make wine for?
OLIVIER: I work now alone and only for myself in the wine business.
I’m also part of my time a filterer and adviser for some very well known estates in Pouilly-Fuissé’s area. Some of these people trust my experience of a wine maker and ask me to give the final touch to their products, but I can’t make advertisement for them, I hope you will understand.
WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
OLIVIER: Today I propose wines made from grapes I have selected myself from several producers I personally know. As I told you earlier my business is based on confidence. I work with people that I know they will provide me with the grapes I have chosen. If I choose them is not only because of that of course, they are all of them amongst the best producers and they are also very good wine makers themselves. They own modern and perfectly clean equipments with pneumatic press, stainless still tanks under temperature control… I have a deal with them to make my wine in their winery.
I’m actually working like a producer, I’m not just a wine merchant. I know all of my wine from the very beginning, I mean from the soil!
WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
OLIVIER: I would suggest to try it with a chicken cooked with this wine, add at the end morels that you have marinated in the wine for a couple of hours, also add two full spoons of “crème fraiche, serve it. If you have some left, try it with cheese like comté or the best is dried goat cheese from maconnais. If you don’t know, just enjoy it by itself.
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Poulley-Fuisse so special?
OLIVIER: Pouilly-Fuissé is a very small spot made of hundreds plots. We have a soil that no one else have, we are really lucky!
WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
OLIVIER: I don’t use selected yeast to ferment my wines, so the fermentation can last until spring. Now I have to control the ending of alcoholic fermentation. The malo-lactic have started too, it’s a very delicate period to go through, if lactic-bacteries started to ferment the sugar we have left, the wine would turn at once in vinegar. It’s a very stressing time!
WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
OLIVIER: I propose a range of wines, each one has its own personality. I believe you will probably find one that you especially like. I suggest to take it easy, relax, it’s pleasure! and only that!
WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
OLIVIER: It’s very important for me to have back the feeling of my consumers. Their satisfaction feeds my passion!
WHITE: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the Pouilly-Fuissé can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Of pale golden color, this wine offers us flavors of ripe fruits, dried fruits, toasted bread and honey. Very rich in mouth, it expresses aromas of yellow peaches and grilled hazelnuts before ending in a flinty and toasty slight acidulous note. It matches marvelously with “fois-gras”, fishes and white meats grilled or cooked in sauce. Try it with a local goat’s cheese.
The Vineyard: On the West of Macon, this vineyard of 50 to 60 years old is cultivated on an Est hillside. The deep chalky soil is covered with flint said “fire stone”. This nature of ground gives rich and powerful wines. Chardonnay is the only grape variety of Pouilly-Fuisse.
Vine Growing: The spacing is close to 10.000 vine plants per hectare, formerly the horse required only a little path to circulate between rows. So by increasing the density, we increase the competition between vines plants as well. The fact that an old vine produces less than a young one is strengthened by this competition. The way of pruning is said “en arcure”, this traditional technique allows to reach a beautiful ripeness. A good spreading of the vegetation helps the circulation of the air in the leaves, grapes take then advantage of the sun.
Winemaking: Analysis of maturity help to determine the date of the the manual harvest. Grapes are de-stemmed and pressed by pneumatic presses. Then, racking takes place during 24 to 36 hours at 15°c, to avoid that the fermentation starts too early. Juices will be put in French oak barrels aged from 1 to 5 years in which will take place alcoholic and malo-lactic fermentations. Since the end of the alcoholic fermentation, wines are matured on their own fine lees stirred once a week till the end of the summer. After blending barrels in a
stainless still thermo regulated tank, two months before the bottling in October, a soft fining with bentonite is
made if necessary, followed by a light filtration in order to bring its brightness to the wine.
About The Winery:
In almost 20 years, I built a wine estate of more than 20 hectares specialized in terroirs of South Burgundy.
Year after year I acquired my experience by producing grapes and making white wine stemming from appellations like Bourgogne blanc, Macon-Villages, Saint-Veran and Pouilly-Fuisse, one of the most exported wines of Burgundy.
The quality of wines from the Domain was rewarded by more than 50 medals within 10 years, among which several gold medals in the National Wines Competition of Paris. Wines were frequently the object of quotations in French guides" like “Dussert-Gerbert” or also "Guide Hatchette ".
Also exported in all Europe, United States, Japan, Canada, the wines were noticed on numerous occasions by journalists of specialized magazines such as “Decanter”, “The wine Spectator”, “The wine Advocate”
Today I am a “wine merchant”, I make wines from grapes I have selected myself. I have decided to put my passion and my skills in search of wines stemming from the most beautiful soils of my region for your greatest pleasure.
The producers whom I chose are concerned by the quality of environment and by the quality of the products we consume every day. Most of them are presently converting to the organic producing. In partnership with these producers, I retained some of their plots, often old vines, for the richness, the typicite and the authenticity of wines which they offer us.
Also fond of the wines stemming from “Vallee du Rhone”, and more exactly from the area of Gigondas or Chateauneuf du Pape, it is very naturally that I chose to propose you a selection of remarkable red Wines.
Varietals: 100% Chardonnay
Age of Vines: 35 years +