Down in Maçon, in Southern Burgundy, there are a few producers who deserve a bit of respect. Or at least more so than they think they’re getting. I had the immense pleasure of having dinner recently with Audrey Braccini, head winemaker at Domaine Ferret in Fuissé, and this topic was a hot one for her.
She’s part of a group of producers trying to get Premier Cru status for vineyards in the Maçon similar to that in the famous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards in the North. Premier Cru status, and its big brother Grand Cru, is a way of distinguishing the best vineyards in Burgundy. But as yet, they’ve not touched the southern end of Burgundy, which seemed a bit strange to me. Apparently it was a taxation thing, who knew, eh?
To an extent, it hadn’t stopped the winemakers at Domaine Ferret before. The use of 19th century terms like “Tête de Cru” on the Les Perrières bottles from the 1970s onwards is unregulated, but for those drinkers who know a thing or two about Pouilly Fuissé, they know this is top drawer. For those out of the know, however, it’s clearly not enough. I only know because I’ve sat next to the winemaker and she explained it to me. Stick me infront of a shelf at a shop with it staring at me? Probably not.
It’s clear that Pouilly Fuissé is a jewel in the crown in these parts, and for us wine drinkers it offers amazing value right now. They really are some top class Chardonnay wines. Ok from a selfish point of view you’d be hoping the situation (and the prices) stay the same. The producers, however, clearly want more. 94% of the producers asked three weeks ago voted to go for it. In a world where 52% is apparently an overwhelming majority, that’s a pretty conclusive vote!
And with someone like Audrey at the front of the crowd, it’s not a question of if, but when Pouilly Fuissé Premier Cru comes to town.