Régis Minet Pouilly Fumé 2005
I have to admit that I am not the world's most avid fan of the sauvignon blanc grape,
except…and of course Pouilly Fumé qualifies as the “except.” That said, I review and
appreciate sauvignon blanc wines from all over the world, but I am entitled to my leanings. I
remember once seeing a video interview of a Bordeaux winemaker who, having gotten on a
tangent about the great white wines from regions outside his own, conceded that both
chardonnay and riesling can express themselves well all over the world; he was adamant that
sauvignon blanc, as a single varietal, shines only in the Loire's central vineyards of Pouilly
and Sancerre. I have since encountered an English wine buff who insisted on narrowing the
cordon of excellence down to Pouilly-Fumé alone; Sancerre didn't interest him. I have read
that only locals can tell the difference between the two neighboring appellations in a blind
tasting, and I tend to believe it. These remarks do not qualify as science, of course, but they
are worth weighing.
The $16 estate-bottled “Vielles Vignes” (old vine) Pouilly Fumé of Régis Minet, imported by Kermit Lynch, is a transparent pale gold. The nose brings an immediate minerality, first with a note of chalky stone, then with the fragrance of salt. The fruit aromas are rich and developed: ripe red apple, apricot, and lime. A note of rose adds depth to this mix. The result, the highlight of this wine, is the type of well-put-together nose you savor. I resist the impulse to further label these aromatics, but the possibility exists.
In the mouth, the Pouilly-Fumé seems an altogether different experience. The medium-bodied wine is dry, with spirited, pointed acidity. The chalky minerality is pronounced; it is pleasantly mouth-coating. On the palate, the fruit is less of a factor than it is on the nose; lime, pear and peach predominate. Chamomile brings a certain herbal bite. The finish is warm, soft, and yet paradoxically tart. The acidity has the final word.
The bottom line is a good deal of wine for the price. The mouthfeel is a plus and the
refreshing finish is appropriate, but the aromatics on the nose are where this Pouilly-Fumé
Verdict: The real thing
Pouilly-Fumé brings us some delectable sauvignon blanc, and you couldn't invent a more evocative name.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman