Pouilly-Fumé is an (AOC) for dry white wine from the Loire Valley wine region of France. Pouilly-Fumé is made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety. It is characterized by smoky flavours and minerality. The vineyards are located in the communes Pouilly-sur-Loire, Saint-Andelain, Boisgibault, Tracy-sur-Loire (Nièvre).
The Pouilly Fumé grape is derived from the Sauvignon Blanc, when mature these berries are covered in a smoke-coloured, grey bloom, which explains why the Pouilly wine growers talk about Blanc fumé (smoked white) to describe the Sauvignon grape or wines produced from it. The word fumé also refers to the unparalleled aromas and bouquet (smoky aroma - the famous gun flint aroma), which comes from the outstanding land of Pouilly / Loire vineyards.
Several million years old, the Pouilly land, made up of Kimmeridgian marls and hard calcareous rock and flint, gives Pouilly Fumé its minerality, finesse and its rather fresh and lively character, clear-cut and long in the mouth, with hints of fruit always present. These may include citrus fruits from the area and elsewhere (redcurrant, bush-peach, passion fruit, lychee), white flowers (acacia, lily); as well as hazelnut and quince.
Pouilly Fumé can be kept for 5 to 10 years, depending on the year and vintage. It normally peaks in its second or third year. It exists as a white wine only and should not be confused with the similar-sounding Maçon wine, Pouilly Fuissé, made from the Chardonnay grape.
Situated just across the river from Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé is known for balanced, structured white wines. There have been vines planted on the hillsides of Pouilly-Fumé since the 5th century AD, although they were destroyed twice: in the late 9th century by a battle between King Charles the Bald and Lothaire, and a thousand years later by phylloxera. Until that time, most of the grapes grown in Pouilly-Fumé were of the Chasselas varietal, which were sent to Paris as table grapes. Once trains began to transport less expensive table grapes from other parts of France, the growers of Pouilly-Fumé turned to wine production and saw a bright future in the Sauvignon Blanc grape which is now the dominant varietal in the region.
Fish, shellfish, and white meats are all excellent complements to the smoke and flint aromas for Pouilly-Fumé, whose structure and balance make it a good match for richer seafood dishes.