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We met Roger Saumaize and his wife, Christine (née Michelin), in February 2018. The wines are spectacular: the word crystalline comes to mind when I think about that tasting. They have 10 hectare of vines, mostly in the Vergisson area of Pouilly-Fuissé. (Pouilly-Fuissé can come from four different villages: Solutré-Pouilly, Fuissé, Vergisson and Chaintré.)
It’s a very small operation - they are a team of four people. Roger repeated several times that his first goal is the optimum expression of terroir. and tasting is believing. We tasted through fifteen wines and each was very expressive and distinct. They make ten Pouilly-Fuissé, two Saint-Véran, one Viré-Clessé, and two Mâcon wines. Unfortunately, they are mostly sold out of their 2016’s and we are only able to start with two wines: Saint-Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé Pentacrine.
Saumaize-Michelin has followed organic farming for twenty years and they have been practicing biodynamic farming since 2005. This is quite unique in the region, where it’s quite common to see herbicide use. Their vines average 50 years old. All of the grapes are hand-harvested and depending on the vintage and parcel, may be picked in several passes. In the cellar, there is a gentle and slow pressing in two pneumatic presses. After the juice has settled for a day, its moved into barrel for fermentation and aging. Wines are aged on the lees with occasional stirring for twelve months.
The 17’s will be released early next year and we will get to delve into the single-vineyard Pouilly-Fuissé, which are a real treat. Soon there will be twenty-two 1er Cru vineyard sites in Pouilly-Fuissé. It’s not yet been decided if the new status will begin in the 2017 or 2018 vintage. —Michele Peters, French Brand Manager