As well as posting here on Jim's Loire about Andrew Jefford's fine blog on Sancerre and Pouilly last Monday I also used this as my weakly post on Les 5 du Vin, which happily provoked some discussion. This caused me to reflect (yes I know unusual...) further on these two neighbouring appellations.
Firstly I should have made it clear in the initial post that there are fine producers in both Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, who despite the commercial success they enjoy are always determined to push the limits to make their wines better. I am always impressed by this as the human temptation to sit back on your success and take it easy must at times be strong.
Having looked at the differences between Sancerre and Pouilly, I realised that there is another area that I hadn't considered – wine tourism. Once again unfortunately Sancerre has very much the upper hand. Sancerre and the appellation of Sancerre have much to attract the visitor from the bustling town of Sancerre to the picturesque villages of Bué and Chavignol – both crammed with producers and, especially in the case of Chavignol, with cafés, restaurants and an excellent hotel.
In contrast Pouilly-sur-Loire is as I have already detailed unfortunately moribund – a victim of a small town being by-passed by the Autoroute A77. There remain just a few tattered vestiges of its glory days when it was a staging post on the N7 – the road from Paris to the sunshine of the Mediterranean.
Apart from La Tour de Pouilly – a wine tourism centre – and visits to wine producers there is unfortunately little to attract the visitor to Pouilly-sur-Loire.
Nor does it have a village like Bué or Chavignol with a concentration of producers also with a café and restaurant to attract visitors. The picturesque hamlet of Les Loges and perhaps Saint-Andelain are probably the closest but neither have a café.
So again it is Sancerre that holds the tourism cards.