- Mâcon, Pouilly-Fuissé, Burgundy, France
We met Roger Saumaize and his wife, Christine Michelin, in February 2018. The wines are spectacular - the word crystalline comes to mind when I think about that tasting. They have 10 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. In the cellar, 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 many of them will soon be classified as 1er Cru sites per the INAO. Saumaize told us that he hopes to be able to use the new classification from the 2020 vintage. —Michele Peters, French Portfolio Manager