Domaine Marcel Couturier Pouilly-Loche 2014
Serve with soft cheeses, poached eggs, chantrelles, or quail.
Marcel Couturier comes from a long line of vignerons in the southern Mâconnais, where he is just one of four producers estate bottling in Mâcon-Loché. Working his family's old Chardonnay vines, he began estate-bottling in 2005 and has quickly made a name for himself. Marcel likes to take his time, working intuitively, with respect for each terroir and resulting wine. Descending from many generations of farmers in the Mâconnais, he is patient to take his time in the vineyard, as well as the cellar, allowing each wine to reveal itself. Marcel stands out as a traditionalist with his old vines and high standards in an area that is quickly defining itself as a source of top-notch white Burgundy.
Marcel farms 11 hectares of vineyards total in multiple different appellations: Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Loché, Saint-Véran, Mâcon-Loché, Mâcon-Vinzelles, and Mâcon Blanc. Most of his vines are quite old with many parcels exceeding 70 years of age, with his "young" vines averaging 30 years in age.
His farming is meticulous, employing only organic methods, he plows the soil constantly to curtail weeds and believes the hard, poor clay soils greatly benefit from the aeration and introduction of organic materials. In the winery, the approach is equally hands-off. Marcel is notable for being a non-interventionist in the cellar, utilizing native yeast fermentations deep in his cold cellar in Loché. Marcel never rushes his fermentations by warming the cellar, both alcoholic and malolactic fermentations occur on their schedules in traditional Burgundy barrels. His wines offer delicacy and aromatic complexity as a result.
A center of viticulture since Roman times, Pouilly-Loché sits east of Pouilly-Fuissé in front of a beautiful backdrop of the hills of Solutré and Vergisson. Attesting to the continuous vitality of viticulture in Pouilly-Loché, many of its cellars date back to the 17th century.
Within Pouilly-Loché, which is also part of Pouilly-Vinzelles, the wines of each of its many lieux-dits (small vineyard areas) claim distinct personalities because of extreme soil variations within this small area. In its northern end, soils are older schists and sandstones, which retain heat. In the south, towards Vinzelles, Pouilly-Loché claims cooler, iron-rich, clay-limestone soils resembling those of the rest of Vinzelles to the south.
Within the variations, a great Pouilly-Loché (always made of Chardonnay) often has characteristics reminiscent of honey, acacia, apricot and grapefruit; with age these will veer towards pear, quince, dried fruit, hazelnut and ginger. These pair perfectly with roasted or tandoori chicken, guinea fowl and olives or fresh water fish dishes.
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 it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.