Tasting on the same day as us in London,Jancis Robinson, remarks that the wines are "reminiscent of the old New World barrel-fermented Chardonnays" (of which she is generally a fan). This is not the kind of overblown, butterscotch and tropical fruit character which used to be found, for instance, in Napa Chardonnay. The palette of aromas and flavours is still very much in the range of green orchard fruits, citrus and white stone fruits like peach, but all with wonderful intensity.
With such ripeness, the skill comes in retaining acidity and freshness. 2019 was particularly challenging for its reduction in yields, but as elsewhere, the lack of rain meant that the total acidity in the grapes was not diluted:
"(2019) gave us very good raw materials though not much of them!...the dehydrating effects of the intense summer heat, yields were only around 35 hl/ha...I was shocked to see that the average bunch weight was between 50 and 52 grams, which is obviously far less than the roughly 100 grams per bunch we typically obtain."
The wines have a delicious citrus energy. Jancis finds a "streak of lime fruit" in "Les Perrières", whilst burgundy expert Allen Meadows describes the wines as "racy, yet opulent" with discreet and nuanced oak influence.
Domaine J.A Ferret, Pouilly-Fuissé
Domaine J.A. Ferret is in the heart of Fuissé itself, with the Ferret family making wine in the village since the 1760s and owning the domaine since 1840. After the Second World War Madame Jeanne Ferret took the decision to bottle the wines at the domaine, rather than selling them to negociants, a bold move at the time. She ran the Ferret for over half a century, well into her eighties, and was joined by her daughter Colette in the 1990s. In 2008 the family sold the estate to Maison Louis Jadot, but it continues to be run as a separate entity. New investment and a brilliant new winemaker signal the intention to raise the game, both at Ferret and for the appellation as a whole. Audrey Braccini is making wines with the kind of mineral complexity usually found in the Côte d'Or, but with an added dimension of Maconnais sunshine lending richness to the wines. Ferret's 18 hectares of vines are spread across many of the best sites in the village.
When we first visited, Audrey pointed out to us that Pouilly-Fuissé has more diversity of terroirs than any other appellation in Burgundy, but this is not reflected in the way that most of the production is bottled and labelled. There is a long tradition at Ferret of recognising the importance of specific sites and Madame Ferret’s even created her own unofficial classifications of 'Tetes de Cru' and 'Hors Cru Classe' which corresponded (in her eyes) to premier and grand cru. From the fresh, mineral style of "Les Perrieres" and "Tournant de Pouilly" (on limestone soils) to the richness of "Clos des Prouges", the wines exhibit their terroirs beautifully.
After many years of lobbying the authorities and after many complex soil studies, the INAO has authorised a premier cru classification in Pouilly-Fuissés, to appear on labels from the 2020 vintage, with a number of Ferret's crus included. Pouilly-Fuissés first grand cru may take a little longer...but, if and when it does come, it may well be one of Ferret's.
Domaine J.A. Ferret - Pouilly-Fuissé "Clos de Prouges" Tete de Cru
£195 per case of 6
Domaine J.A. Ferret Pouilly-Fuissé "Clos de Prouges" Tete de Cru 2019 / 20 cases / 75cl £195 per case of 6
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