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1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Pouilly-Fumé – Perle de la Loire edited by Jacky Rigaud

Although I’m not all sure about Pouilly-Fumé being the ‘pearl of the Loire’ given its variable present day quality, this is an informative and interesting study of Pouilly-Fumé. I’m finding the chapter, written by Patrick Coulbois, on its history particularly interesting.

As in Sancerre there were some red grapes planted here before the arrival of phylloxera at the end of the 19th century, although unlike in Sancerre red varieties were never the majority. Instead it was Chasselas and Sauvignon Blanc that dominated. As Coulbois explains in the chaopthat Sauvignon Blanc had already established its reputation in Pouilly at the beginning of the 19th century. Pinot Noir was planted in Pouilly along with Gascon, L’Oeillade plus other red varieties including I assume Gamay. Claude Courtois in the Sologne has a vineyard of Gascon – click here for details and L’Oeillade is a synomym for Cinsault, although it would be surprising if this variety was planted so far north. Perhaps this was a different variety. Would like to hear from anyone who knows.

In 1793 un poinçon (223 litres – nearly the equivalent of today’s barrique) of Pouilly sold for 134 livres. This compared to 100 livres for Sancerre and 84 from wine from Cosne – now part of the Coteaux de Giennois. Red wine from Pouilly sold for 90 livres. In 1829 there were 1890 hectares in the region of Pouilly. After phylloxera and two World Wars this had fallen to just 430 hectares by 1970. There are now 1224 hectares planted.

Throughout its history Pouilly has experienced good and bad times – years of prosperity and years of misery as Coulbois recounts.

There are also useful chapters on the soils and geology of Pouilly. Unfortunately the chapter on the evolution of the vineyard in recent times is stronger on poetry than on substance. In the photo chapter on the vignerons of Pouilly appears to be missing some significant figures: Didier Dagueneau (no surprise here), Patrick Ladoucette and Jean-Louis Saget.

Pouilly-Fumé was published in 2007 by terre en vues 34€. It includes a number of very fine photos from a number of contributors.


Mark R said...

A possible answer on the Oeillade grape. According to the site of "Reseau Francais des Conservatoires de Vigne" the Oeillade noire is a distinct variety of grape "often confused with Cinsault". It has a confusing number of other names and seems to have been grown primarily as a table grape although vinification was and is still practiced in the south of France. It seems to be an early ripening variety (3 weeks after Chasselas) so its cultivation in the Loire seems possible.

Jim Budd said...

Thanks for this Mark. I did try several Google searches and failed to turn up the Reseau Français. jancis Robinson's Concise Wine Companion has it down as a synonym for Cinsault.

There is also a wine from Mas des Chimères Vin de pays des Coteaux du Salagou called L'oeillade and made from Cinsault.

Mark R said...

My understanding is that Cinsault when sold as a table grape was referred to as Oeillade. Hence the confusion between the two. The French government's Arrete of 18th April 2008 announced the opening of an official catalogue of grape varieties which could be commercialised in the EU. Cinsault is listed as a wine grape, Oeillade noire as a table grape - which makes it pretty conclusive that they are different varieties.

Jim Budd said...

Thanks Mark.