Pascal Jolivet Pouilly Fume 2007
Food pairings: Sushi, shellfish, pork, fish, Asian cuisine.
The house of Pascal Jolivet is one of the youngest and most dynamic in the Loire Valley. Founded in 1985, this specialist in the wines of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume has very quickly gained a leading position with the Michelin-starred restaurants of France. Pascal owns an estate of more than 40 acres evenly divided between two appellations.
He believes strongly in letting nature make the wine as much as possible, and seeks to tame the more aggressive qualities of the Sauvignon Blanc variety. His wines show the benefits of stainless steel vatting with naturally occurring yeasts. They are fermented cool rather than cold and are left of their lees for four to six months, gaining subtle but complex aromas as a result.
The Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume both originate from the Jolivet estate. The Sancerre is a composite of the three soil types in the district: calcareous clay, limestone, and flint. It is more flowery and subtle than many of its type. Pouilly-Fume, from the opposite bank of the Loire, comes from a large diversity of glacial soils and is normally more austere and minerally.
Praised for its stately Renaissance-era chateaux, the picturesque Loire valley produces pleasant wines of just about every style. Just south of Paris, the appellation lies along the river of the same name and stretches from the Atlantic coast to the center of France.
The Loire can be divided into three main growing areas, from west to east: the Lower Loire, Middle Loire, and Upper/Central Loire. The Pay Nantais region of the Lower Loire—farthest west and closest to the Atlantic—has a maritime climate and focuses on the Melon de Bourgogne variety, which makes refreshing, crisp, aromatic whites.
The Middle Loire contains Anjou, Saumur and Touraine. In Anjou, Chenin Blanc produces some of, if not the most, outstanding dry and sweet wines with a sleek, mineral edge and characteristics of crisp apple, pear and honeysuckle. Cabernet Franc dominates red and rosé production here, supported often by Grolleau and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sparkling Crémant de Loire is a specialty of Saumur. Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc are common in Touraine as well, along with Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay and Malbec (known locally as Côt).
The Upper Loire, with a warm, continental climate, is Sauvignon Blanc country, home to the world-renowned appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Pinot Noir and Gamay produce bright, easy-drinking red wines here.