Sunday, 8 May 2016
Franck Champeau – Domaine Champeau, Pouilly-Fumé
Domaine Champeau, Pouilly-Fumé
(above and below)
I was quite surprised to find a substantial Pouilly-Fumé domaine in the Wines Unearthed section of this year's London Wine Trade Fair. The Wines Unearthed section described as 'unsigned talent from the world of wine' was for producers not represented in the UK.
Domaine Champeau is based in the village of Saint-Andelain and has 20 hectares of vines – the vast majority being Sauvignon Blanc but they also have 1.40 ha of Chasselas for AC Pouilly-sur-Loire. This makes them the largest producer of Pouilly-sur-Loire – the much reduced appellation for Chasselas that used to be the dominant grape variety here – albeit essentially for the production of table grapes. The domaine was founded in 1942 when Franck's grandparents started with just 1.70 ha of vines. He and his brother, Guy, are the third generation to run the domaine.
I met Franck Champeau on the stand. Unfortunately like so many other Loire producers he has been hit by the recent late April frosts, especially that of early in the morning of Wednesday 27th April. "We have lost 50% of our crop," Franck told me, "and overall throughout the appellation the loss is 50%."
I was impressed with the wines I tasted with Franck – in particular the mineral 2014 Silex and and the attractively concentrated 2015 Pouilly-Fumé. For anyone looking for that relatively rare beast – a Pouilly-Fumé not imported into the UK – should take a look at these wines.