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Chateau Fuisse Pouilly-Fuisse Tete de Cru 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A 15th Century tower flanks Chateau Fuisse, a family home whose history is evidenced by a number of 300 year old artifacts and adornment. The estate of Chateau Fuisse includes vines exceeding 60 years of age that are vinified and bottled separately as Vieilles Vignes -a remarkably powerful, intense Chardonnay with aging capability of up to 15 years or more in bottle. The "normal" Chateau Fuisse is also a selection from older vines at least 25 years of age, and as a rule is focused and concentrated, rich yet very firmly held together. From the estate, three further bottlings come from individual plots or climates: Le Clos, a profound, powerful Chardonnay from the dense clay enclosure behind the chateau; Les Combettes, a superbly aromatic wine of great finesse from a very stony calcareous clay slope; and Les Brules, a south facing slope "burnt" by the sun. All the wines bearing the chateau label are barrel fermented in various oaks. The current owner and winemaker is Jean-Jacques Vincent, great-grandson of the founder, now assisted by his daughter Benedicte. A professor of enology, Jean-Jacques is as alert to modern innovations as he is loyal to proven traditional methods.
The source of some of the most sought-after white wines of the Mâconnais, Pouilly-Fuissé is produced exclusively from the Chardonnay grape and tends to be slightly richer in style than wines from its northern neighbor, the Côte de Beaune—mainly due to warmer weather. Wines from Pouilly-Fuissé have some versatility; they can be enjoyed young and can also often improve with a little time in the cellar. Pouilly-Fuissé wines are considered some of the best values for white Burgundy.
Similar to the Côte de Beaune, the soils of Pouilly-Fuissé are mainly limestone and clay. The appellation includes the communes of Fuissé, Solutré (which includes Pouilly), Vergisson and Chaintré. The richest Chardonnay comes from Fuissé and Solutré-Pouilly, whereas the Chardonnay at higher elevation, from Vergisson, expresses more minerality and finesse. Pairing Pouilly-Fuissé with lobster or King Crab will bring great joy not only to your palate—but also your pocketbook!
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.