Saumaize-Michelin Pouilly-Fuisse Premier Cru Vers Cras 2021


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“Back to the veranda of Domaine Saumaize Michelin in the shadow of the Roc de Vergisson in the namesake village. Christine and Roger Saumaize tend over 9.5 hectares, all biodynamically farmed, with a focus on single vineyard parcels. We were joined by daughter Lisa Saumaize, who came aboard the domaine in 2020, together with her brother Vivien. “It was one of the smallest vintages of my career, between 25-30hL/ha after the frost,” Roger Saumaize rues. “We don’t usually suffer frost as our vines are located at altitude. It was -7°C and -8°C. It was so cold that it damaged the branches in the vine and the vessels inside. Vine growth was late and disorganized so for a long time, the vineyards looked as if it was winter. Spring was very wet. We used the second-generation fruit, which ripened slowly…but it ripened. Because the rain was continuous, it inhibited the spread of mildew because there was no time for the spores to contaminate. We didn’t start harvesting until the end of September. The parameters were for a very ordinary growing season, but the quality was uniquely good. For white wines, I’ve never seen a great vintage from visually perfect bunches…you need imperfections. Maybe only one-third of the fruit could be described as fully ripe. Everything was aged in barrel this year with very little new oak. We use the lunar calendar for the pruning, racking and bottling.”

Readers should be alerted to the quality of the Pouilly-Fuissé Les Crays in 2021 – complex and engaging, whilst the domaine’s Saint-Véran and Mâcon-Vergisson will probably be more suited for earlier drinking.

Neal Martin, Vinous (08/23)