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2012 Pouilly-Fuissé,'Clos des Quarts', Domaine du Clos des Quarts
Château des Quarts was created in 2012 by two of our favourite vignerons, Dominique Lafon and Olivier Merlin, who are old friends. The vineyard is being managed by Olivier Merlin and the wine made in his facility at La Roche Vineuse.
More than a decade ago, renowned winemaker Olivier Merlin (dubbed – naturally – 'the wizard of the Mâconnais'), began an extraordinary story. He was looking for a vineyard which would represent the very best terroir in the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation; when the opportunity to obtain a parcel of grapes from the Clos des Quarts came his way, he knew his search was at an end.
On learning that this beautiful Mâconnais property was for sale, Merlin approached Dominique Lafon, a producer of equal repute, to form a partnership. Drawing on their shared expertise and savoir-faire, these two vignerons were convinced that they could produce a wine that would be essence of a great Pouilly-Fuissé. In 2012, Château des Quarts was born.
The vineyard, Clos des Quarts, is located in Chaintré, the southernmost village of Pouilly-Fuissé. This monopole (under single ownership) vineyard of 2.23 hectares is surrounded by a high stone wall, overlooking the the Saône valley. The oldest vines are approaching their centenary, having been planted in 1937. They face east on a gentle slope comprising clay-limestone soil which is free-draining, making it the ideal site for the production of quality grapes.
For the debut vintage of their collaboration, Merlin's team were rigorous in their viticulture, working hard to preserve the site's unique heritage. The grapes were vinified by both Olivier and Dominique in Merlin's cellars at La Roche-Vineuse. Currently, the 2012 wines are maturing in barrel and are due to be bottled this spring. From what we've seen so far, this is a graceful and promising wine – “A reference point” for Pouilly-Fuissé, says Jasper Morris, MW – and a very exciting addition to the Mâconnais wine scene.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
Pouilly-Fuissé is the most distinguished wine appellation in the Mâconnais, making rich, full-bodied white Burgundy from Chardonnay in four communes: Chaintré, Fuissé, Solutré-Pouilly and Vergisson. There is a move afoot to consider classifying individual vineyard sites.Since arriving in the Mâconnais in 1987, Olivier and Corinne Merlin have become among the region’s most respected producers. After 10 years, they began buying Pouilly-Fuissé grapes, and now make three different cuvées each vintage.
Pouilly-Fuissé should not be confused with Pouilly-Fumé or Pouilly-sur-Loire in the Loire Valley that produce wines from Sauvignon Blanc.
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