It took me ages to stop confusing Pouilly-Fuissé with Pouilly-Fumé (and I still have trouble spelling them). That’s understandable though, right? Right? It wasn’t until I tasted them side by side that the distinction slapped itself onto my synapses.
Fumé, made exclusively from Sauvignon Blanc in central France’s Pouilly-sur-Loire, is distinctively smokey. It often gets compared to gun flint and, while I’ve never actually sniffed a gun’s flint, I somehow know exactly what the comparison means. So, to help me remember, I always think of “fumes” from a smoking gun. In my mind, the gun is wielded by a 1920s New York hired goon in a baggy suit. This aspect isn’t essential to the memory aid though.
Pouilly-Fuissé, on the other hand, is a made from 100 per cent Chardonnay in Burgundy’s southern subregion, the Mâconnais. Now, in my limited experience, Pouilly-Fuissé is less distinctive and more subtle than the Fumé. This one, by Marc Dudet, features apple, pear, lime and wild flowers. It also has a slight creaminess to it, presumably the result of malolactic fermentation (a process where the harsh malic acid is converted to milkier lactic acid). Anyway, all the hallmarks of a Chardonnay are present here (if anything, it reminded me of a Chablis) but it’s not as overtly fruity as some other Burgundys I’ve tried.
“Refined and elegant” says the Waitrose website. Yeah, I’d go with that. But personally, I prefer more fruit on the nose. Like you might get from, say, a Mâcon Villages or a Saint-Véran. Then again, ninjas are not known for either their refinement or their elegance so what do I know.
I reckon you’re paying a few quid extra for the name here too — at £17 from the Waitrose Fine Wines section, it’s not cheap. Maybe wait till it comes on special offer.
Marc Dudet Pouilly-Fuissé from Waitrose. 2013. 13% vol. £17.