by Fred McMillin
for October 28, 1999


A French Beauty


The Textbook

My friend John J. Baxevanis, East Stroudsburg State geography professor, writes in his book on Burgundy...

    In southern Burgundy the Cote Maconnais produces mostly white wine, which is nearly all quite ordinary EXCEPT Pouilly-Fuissé.

    That wine may be produced in only five communes, including Fuissé, Vergisson and Pouilly.

    The Grape—The wine is made from Chardonnay, a classy grape that produces the finest white table wine in the world.

    The Soil—The best Chardonnay is grown on stony, limestone soils, including those in the Pouilly-Fuissé (poo-yee fwee-say) district.

    The Wine—At its best, Pouilly-Fuissé is a dry, clean, light, pale wine with an expansive aroma and a very agreeable, refreshing taste.

    Acids—The trick in making classic Chardonnay is to capture the "ripe" and not the "green" acids of the grape.

    The Best—The standard for all Pouilly-Fuissé is Chateau Fuissé. Its wine is full, crisp, eminently refreshing, perfectly balanced, and substantial on the palate.

The Wine

Pouilly-FuisseOur wine is from the communes of Fuissé, Vergisson and Pouilly.

It is made from 100% Chardonnay.

The Soil—The Vergisson commune soil has the highest limestone content, producing the most crisp wine.

Acid Control—Jean-Jacques Vincent, winemaker (and owner) uses malolactic fermentation as a flexible "tool" to soften the acidity just to the desired degree. Some vintages require none. Jean-Jacques used 35% malo on the 1997 vintage.

The Winery—Mr. Vincent's winery is none other than Chateau Fuissé!

So, here's our textbook Maconnaise...the right grape, the right soil, the right communes and the best winery.

1997 Pouilly-Fuissé, Vincent
Chateau de Fuissé, Bourgogne, France
Importer—Frederick Wildman, NYC
Contact in NYC—Odila Galer-Noel, (212) 355-0700, FAX (212) 355-4719


We must mention that today marks the 532nd birthday of an early fan of Burgundy wine, Erasmus. The great Dutch scholar-priest might have been the first to top the best-seller list. Writing soon after printing was invented, his 1511 book in Praise of Folly ran to FORTY THREE editions during his lifetime. of Burgundy wine (probably red), he found it "mellow and absolutely delicious." Being such a healthy and tasty beverage, "it may well be called the mother of man." Jean-Jacques Vincent has not tarnished that image.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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