Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fumé 2005
Though Sauvignon Blanc has made its mark across the world, the two French appellations so
closely associated with the grape—the Loire's Sancerre and its much smaller neighbor
Pouilly-Fumé—continue to produce memorable wine their own way. With vineyards on either
side of the Loire, winemaker Pascal Jolivet creates wines in both appellations. Jolivet favors
naturally-occurring yeasts, stainless steel vats, aging on the lees and gravity feeding. His
Pouilly-Fumé stands true to type, featuring minerality, a clear attack, a well-orchestrated
finish and a satisfying structural roundness.
The $25 wine presents an aroma that is at once mineral and yet citrus, though the citrus is of a sophisticated order: grapefruit and bergamot. The citrus expands into more mainstream territory on the palate—adding orange and lime—backed by a choir of peach, pear and fresh apricot. The fruit is stimulating and yet does not scream for your attention; it doesn't really need to. All these fruits are fragrant and complete, as if they have brought their flowers and blossoms along to the winemaking process.
The result is an excellent mouthful. It would be a stretch to claim that the Jolivet has the “gunflint” element so often associated with Pouilly-Fumé, yet it certainly has sufficient mineral three-dimensionality to buttress the other elements. The choreography all works, leading to a finish that is extremely tasty and refreshing.
I enjoyed this wine as an aperitif before a seafood meal, and consider it integrated enough to
stand alone without food. While I certainly can continue to enjoy expressions of the
Sauvignon Blanc grape from other areas of the world, my own leanings put this type of wine,
and this particular expression of it, at the top of the list.
The best wines come to us first and foremost as wines; the analytical elements trail behind for the sake of completeness.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman