October 2017—Our 45th Anniversary!
When I was growing up in laid-back 1970s California, Pouilly-Fuissé was the end-all-be-all of French whites among the, admittedly limited, sophisticated (read fancy) wine connoisseurs I knew. Thankfully, it never had a sketchy reputation to overcome like its frumpy American counterpart, the watered-down and now delegitimized “California Chablis” pumped out by the hoseful into vast jugs. Winemaking certainly has improved in the Golden State since then. Still, this Pouilly-Fuissé is what California Chardonnay should aspire to. Round and fleshy, with a chalky mineral backbone and bursting with citric juiciness, this sexy, supple, and voluptuous wine has a heady, velvet texture topped by a bright, vibrant acidity, like a glorious chapeau atop Mae West’s golden curls. It’s the total package. –Jennifer Oakes
Jean-Jacques Robert took over five hectares of his grandfather’s vines in the Mâconnais just outside the village of Fuissé after finishing law school in 1988. Though most of the harvest had always been sold off to the cooperatives, the small parcels that made up the domaine were already understood to enjoy unique microclimates, producing Pouilly-Fuissés of great pedigree. Jean-Jacques soon came under the influence of two ardent defenders of terroir, the great master of Morgon, Marcel Lapierre, and American importer, Kermit Lynch. Little by little, Jean-Jacques has introduced radical changes to the domaine, finally realizing its full potential. He is now joined by his sons, Nicolas and Antoine.
For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.