- Mâcon, Pouilly-Fuissé, Burgundy, France
As I've written before, Christine and Roger Saumaize preside over this fine 9.5-hectare domaine in Vergisson. Biodynamic farming, limited yields and manual harvesting are the fundamentals of their approach in the vineyards, followed by fermentation in barrel. The various parcels have been vinified separately since 1985. The wines are concentrated and structured, exemplifying the artisanal excellence that seems to proliferate in Vergisson, and the 2018 vintage has turned out nicely. - William Kelley, Wine Advocate, June 2020.
We met Roger Saumaize and his wife, Christine Michelin, for the first time in February 2018. The wines are spectacular - the word crystalline comes to mind when I think about that tasting. They have ten hectares 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; Roger and Christine work with 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.
Saumaize-Michelin has followed organic farming for twenty years and they have been practicing biodynamic farming since 2005, which is quite unique in the region, where herbicide use is common. Their vines average 50 years-old and the philosophy of the farming is to, in Roger's words, "capture the energy of the place". All of the grapes are hand-harvested and depending on the vintage and parcel, may be picked in several passes. The 'work' in the cellar is very straight forward; there is a gentle and slow pressing in two pneumatic presses. After the juice has settled for a day, it’s moved right into barrel for fermentation and aging. Wines are aged on the lees with occasional stirring for twelve months.
The single-vineyard Pouilly-Fuissé wines are gorgeous expressions of their distinct terroir and four of Saumaize's ten Pouilly-Fuissé will soon be classified as 1er Cru: Vers Cras, les Crays, Clos sur la Roche, and Maréchaudes. The INAO has not yet announced if the new classification will start in the 2020 vintage or 2021. —Michele Peters, French Portfolio Manager