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  • Writer's pictureNiall

A primer on Pouilly-Fumé

Land of gently flowing rivers, fairy tale castles, and - more importantly - banging bottles of Sauvignon Blanc. We're in the centre point of France here, in the Loire valley, or more specifically what's referred to as "Central Loire", and it's probably the most recognisable area of the region. The Pouilly-Fumé appellation sits on the picturesque right bank of the Loire river, as it intersects the communes of Sancerre to the West and Pouilly to the East. Castles and bridges occasionally break up the vineyards, and locally caught pike gently grill away in the kitchens of riverside bistros.

These wines are often overlooked due to the daunting pronunciation (poo-ey foo-may) and the sheer popularity of it's sibling to across the river in Sancerre, but dip your toe in the water, and the subtler wines of the two appellations will repay you many times over. Being so far inland compared to the other parts of the Loire, we've got a pretty continental climate, meaning the maritime influence is relatively non existent - summers are crazy warm and winters are pretty Baltic, meaning grapes are ripened to phenolic (flavour) perfection once it gets warm, but the cold months retain the characteristic bracing acidity the grape is so well loved for. The real show pony of the area however, is it's soils. The best vineyards, to the north of the town of Pouilly-Sur-Loire, sit on top of what is called silex; a soil made of predominantly flint with clay, that's said to be the real maestro in giving the wines their characteristic vibrance, freshness, and some say their gunflint aroma (though there's lots of arguments as to the reality of this).