Chateau de Tracy
2005 Haute Densité Pouilly Fumé
Sauvignon Blanc •Pouilly Fumé AOC
France: Loire Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
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Mission Codename: High Across the River
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Visit the Central Appellations of the Loire to acquire a superb Sauvignon Blanc
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Chateau de Tracy
Wine Subject: 2005 Haute Densité Pouilly Fumé
Winemaker: Comtesse A. d’Estutt d’Assay
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.
This wine is appropriately named Haute Densité (high density) because the vineyard is planted with tightly packed vines (double the normal density of vines). This results in less fruit per vine. The lower number of berries per vine adds to the ‘density’ of its flavors making this wine an even more pure expression of the grape and its Terroir.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Clear and pale with light yellow hues that extend to the very edge of the glass. Clusters of thick tears move purposely down the side of the glass when swirled.
Smell – Bold and fresh with notable flint and gun smoke component balanced against fresh fruit aromas of white peaches, fresh figs and lychee. A touch of white flowers and grapefruit also emerge as you explore the bouquet of this wine.
Feel – The initial attack of this full, well structured and crisp wine is smooth and dry with a fresh and sharp mid-palate and a touch of spice and acidity on the tip of the tongue.
Taste – Classic Sauvignon Blanc flavors that are lead off with its flinty minerality, gun smoke fruit flavors of grapefruit, gooseberry and peach. A touch of spice and floral notes complete the taste experience.
Finish – This wine finishes long and crisp with hints of flint and citrus with solid acidity that lingers.
Conclusion – The Haute Densité is a superb example of the way wines from Pouilly Fumés should taste. Classic, yet a bold expression in its flavors and definitely representative of the Terroir. Without a doubt, this wine is a special occasion wine and if you love Sauvignon Blanc, this one belongs in your personal cellar.
Typically, wines from the region age for 2-5 years, however, this one will cellar notably longer. We paired this exceptional wine with grilled wild white fish with Moroccan spiced tomato and zucchini.
Just as I was starting to setting into being back in California after extended missions in Europe I got an urgent PIN from Agent Terroir. I was to immediately depart back to Paris and then to the village of Tracy-Sur-Loire and the Pouilly Fumé AOC. Intel had been streaming in on certain vineyards with exceptionally dense plantings and OPS wanted a first hand account of the wine, and if possible to secure a tasting.
Arriving at Charles de Gaulle International Airport I was still half asleep. Over the past two months, I had spent more time on an airplane than I had in my own bed. Agent Terroir handed me a dossier to review as we made the two hour drive down A77 to the central Loire.
I was fighting to stay awake as I reviewed the imagery analysis of the vineyards and the vines. The dossier also had technical analysis of the soil, aspect, various viticulural techniques and even some preliminary tasting notes.
Most stunningly, this particular vineyard was planted with over 17,000 vines per hectare, over double the normal density. Pouilly Fumé, perhaps not as well known as its neighboring Sancerre, is however, the home of among the most spectacular and elegant Sauvignon Blanc in all of France. These wines are especially known for thier distinct and striking influence of the Terroir.
We arrived in Tracy-Sur-Loire and proceeded to the vineyard in question. We had no appointment with the Chateau and jumping fences and sneaking through the grounds of the countryside was not my idea of good planning. Agent Terroir assured me that we had secured a tasting sample from an inside operative and we’d be able to have a taste later.
The vineyard was amazing, and the fruit, was even better. The vista almost perfect. We sat high across the river from Sancerre, and yet my only thought was to taste the wine from this plot. We collected our technical samples and I was ready to fall over.
Agent Terroir had booked a room for me at a small pension in the neighboring village. I took the key, walked up the stairs and into my room, dropped my bag, the technical samples from the vineyard and immediately took a shower. Once the hot water ran over my face, I started to feel better. Slightly rejuvenated, I lied down on the bed and just then I noticed a bottle with a note attached on the small sitting table in the corner. Was it there when I came in? I honestly didn’t notice.
The small note said, “Vous auriez dû appeler. Le séjour prochain de temps à mon chateau. Jusque-là, apprécier!” and was signed Henry d’Assay. The bottle, a 2005 Chateau de Tracy Haute Densité Pouilly Fumé. Sleep, not now, tasting duty calls.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Tracy-sur-Loire village can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
93 Points & Cellar Selection – Wine Enthusiast – From a vineyard planted with almost 7,000 vines per acre, and with low yields (2 bunches) per vine, you would expect concentration. And the wine is hugely perfumed, very aromatic, the fruit flavored with essence of green plum and grapefruit. It’s the sort of wiht that needs at least 3-4 years aging. – RV March 2008
About This Wine:
If the name itself didn’t tip you off to what sets this Pouilly Fumé apart from the rest, a little translation may be in order. Haute Densité means ‘High Density’ in French, and refers to a 1-hectare vineyard plot planted with no less than 17,000 vines! Considering that the average vineyard in Pouilly Fumé counts 7,500 vines per hectare, the high density vineyard more than doubles the ratio. All enophiles know that the higher the density of plantation, the lower the yield and therefore the more intense and concentrated the resulting berries.
High Density is thus much more than your average Sauvignon Blanc – it is a potent elixir squeezed from the grapes of struggling 10+ year old vines. You need only to uncork this bottle for the sweet musk to fill the room. No pouring is necessary. The fragrant nose is mirrored by a precise, perfumed and penetrating nectar that coats the palate and lingers for 17,000 seconds (or a VERY, VERY long time). What’s more, this Pouilly Fumé is both pleasant in its youth and ageworthy – it can be enjoyed for up to a decade after release.
A SOUND/HEALTHY SYSTEM OF WINE-GROWING… For the last twelve years we have carried out reasoned cultivation so as to have a wine-growing system which respects the environnement.
The grass is kept under control through ploughing… or the use of butterfly lures is one of the other ways we reduce the number of chemical treatments needed.
QUALITY GRAPES… by pruning, thinning out leaves around the grapes, trimming higher up and letting some grass grow around the vines we have improved the health and maturity of our grapes.
In order to maintain a yield which allows us to produce high quality wines we have sometimes carried out “green harvest”. Our average yield over 6 years has been 53hl per hectare.
About The Winery:
The first members of the Scottish noble Stutt family in France were members of a large army that came from Scotland in the fifteenth century to help the future king Charles VII of France during the Hundred Years War. After naturalization their name was gallicized to become d’Estutt or Destutt. In 1586 François Stutt, married the Lady of Tracy.
LAFAYETTE, JEFFERSON AND THE COMTE OF TRACY: The “Domaine de Tracy” was the property of Antoine Louis Claude Destutt, count of Tracy. One of his friends was General de La Fayette, whose son was married to his daughter Emilie. Both were elected to the States General as members of the nobility and enthusiastically took up the liberal ideas of the beginning of the Revolution.
When, after the arrest ans execution of Louis XVI, events took a more violent turn; they fell away from it and resigned. He was a member of the Philadelphia American Philosophical Society.
He was a friend of Jefferson who he probably met in Paris when Jefferson was American Ambassador. They maintained regular correspondence and Jefferson supervised the translation and publication in the United States of the works of Destutt de Tracy on constitutional problems and the defence of political freedom. They could not be distributed in France as they were of great offence to Napoléon. Other interesting works include his Review of Montesquieu’s “Spirit of the laws” and an economic treatise prefaced by Thomas Jefferson.
Destutt de Tracy brought up his son Victor, who later became the first Head of the Polytechnic School, in accordance with his own principles. The latter, following a military career in the Napoleonic armies, became Naval Minister under he Restoration and was one of the deputies in France who voted for the abolition of slavery.
He wedded Sarah Newton, niece of the renowned physician. She went on to write memoirs and translate texts on the life of the “Fathers of the Church”.
THE FIRST BOTTLING… At the end of the nineteenth century the vineyard was strictly organised by Jacques de Tracy. He was the first to bottle wine here and he sold the Château de Tracy wines in France and in Russia.
The vineyard then produced Pouilly Fume wine as well as “méthode champenoise” sparkling wines.
1950, RESTORATION OF THE VINEYARD… At the beginning of the 1950s Jacqueline de Tracy married the Comte Alain d’Assay. Together they restored the vineyard.
Control has now passed to the next generation who continue in the same spirit of excellence and quality that has always prevailed.
Appellation: Pouilly Fumé
Winemaker & Owner: Comtesse A. d’Estutt d’Assay
Village: Tracy sur Loire
Vineyard location: Plateau des Champs de Cri
Soil: Kimmeridgian & Portlandian limestone
Area: 2.5 acres
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Yield in 2005: 30 hectoliters per hectare
Alcohol content: 13.4°