Domaine Nebout St. Pourcain Blanc Le Tressallier de Gravieres 2014
The land is similar to Burgundy, in that the soils are a mixture of chalk and clay. Yet the Nebout family decided to reserve a special vein of gravel and sand, called the “sable et graviers de Bourbonnais” for its rare Tressallier vines. Today there are less than 40 hectares of Tressallier planted in all of Europe, and all of them in Saint-Pourcain, winemaker Julien Nebout told us. His family cares for 7 hectares of this rare vine and is a strong force in restoring the lost history of this exciting varietal.
The prowess of Saint-Pourcain as a source of exemplary white wines is long established. Ask a French nobleman from the 13th century where the finest wines were to be found and he’d list without hesitation: Beaune, St. Emilion and Saint-Pourçain. Yet the wines of Saint-Pourçain practically disappeared after the phylloxera blight decimated winemaking in France. After years of replanting and rethinking how and where the region’s native varietals are grown, the winemakers of Saint-Pourçain achieved AOC status in 2009.
Named after the Allier river (and not far from the forest that provides much of the wine world with Allier barrels), Tressallier’s characteristic aromas are white flowers and hazelnuts, similar to a cool-year Chardonnay from Meursault. It is both brisk and unctuous, with a snappy, mineral finish—an altogether unique experience and one that begs to be enjoyed at the table.