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Jacques Saumaize, Saint-Véran Poncetys 2018
White Wine from France - Burgundy
‘Mouthwatering’ and ‘classy’ were counted among the quickfire responses when assessing this white Burgundy at our 2021 Wine Champions tasting. A seam of lemon-like acidity underpins and enlivens an otherwise ripe and peachy palate. Perfectly poised and ready to enjoy.
Jacques Saumaize and his wife Nathalie have been making concentrated but refreshing wines at their small domaine in the Mâconnais since the late 1980s. Their home overlooks the two iconic rocks of Vergisson to the left and Solutré to the right. They divide their time mostly between 4.5 hectares of vineyards in Saint Véran and another 3.5 hectares in Pouilly-Fuissé and still find time to promote this southern part of the Mâconnais through the local producers’ association L’Accent du Sud, over which Nathalie presides. Saint-Véran En Crêches, from chalky soils halfway up the dos de Vergisson, is vinified in stainless steel and is a ripe but racy example of the appellation. Jacky’s superior cuvées are fermented and aged in oak, 20% of it new. His vibrant Pouilly-Fuissés are made with precision, with smaller cuvées from old vines delivering great intensity and breadth of flavour.
The maturity of the grapes reflects the yearâ€™s unbroken sunny summer weather. From 25th June until the harvest it was warm and, apart from the odd storm, there was little or no rain, allowing the grapes to ripen fully. By contrast plentiful spring rain had created a good reserve of water in the soil for the vines to draw upon, so that there was neither heat stress nor raisining of the grapes later in the season.
That water supply, along with a successful flowering, ensured a generous harvest the size of which mitigated some of the heat and explains why the grapes are ripe but not overripe. Anticipating their precocity, the producers began harvesting at the end of August and brought in ripe and balanced fruit in very good health, with no fungal diseases in evidence. The resulting white wines have a striking purity of fruit about them.