Nowhere in the world does Sauvignon blanc (in France, just “sauvignon”) achieve the same expression as in the upper Loire. There the intensity and purity of fruit reaches its apogee, and the bone-dry made there wine pleases the most discriminating palates. Sancerre is the best known of the upper-Loire Sauvignon appellations. But up the river just a kilometer or two lies Pouilly Fumé, a village with Sauvignon of comparable quality.
“Fumé” means “smoked” in French, and identifies the aromas that call to mind the scent of flint struck against steel (think of rolling the wheel on a Zippo or Bic lighter without the fuel). It can be found in Sauvignon everywhere — Robert Mondavi borrowed the word for his Fumé Blanc from the Napa Valley. But in Pouilly-Fumé there are flints scattered through the soil, and so the analogy particularly rings true. Frederic Michot’s 12 hectares are on Kimmeridgian marl and clay/flint soils.
Michot makes wine that is clear as a bell. There are just two wines, both raised traditionally en cuve. The regular cuvée is just a bit rounder than the old vine Cuvée Sainte Clara, whose fruit is exceptionally precise and clear. We love both these versatile wines, sometimes pairing them with food and sometimes enjoying a glass all by itself.