Yes, it’s true, it still exists, but it is almost a unicorn wine. Heck, I always thought finding a Pouilly-Fumé like the ones I grew up drinking would be impossible. Bright fruit, vivid minerality and acidity, and no cat’s pee notes or oak. But yes, Virginia, it does exist. Thus we come to Guy Baudin. Who also happens to have been good friends with the dearly departed and much heralded winemaker Didier Dagueneau.
The Baudin family have lived in Pouilly-sur-Loire for generations. Their winery was established in 1685, and they now farm 11 hectares (27.18 acres) scattered amongst 15 parcels using natural methods to maintain the health and ecosystem of the soils. The vines are between 35-40 years in age, somewhat densely planted (6500 vines/ha) on clay and limestone soils with flinty veins, and interspersed with Kimmeridgian sediments. Everything here is done by hand, using traditional tools. Papa Guy now works with his son Lilian to ensure continuity.
All grapes are hand-harvested and sorted at the winery by hand. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel using wild yeasts, then the wine is transferred to cement tanks to sit on its lees. It is then unfined and lightly filtered at bottling. The results are wines that let their terroirs shine through, with bright fruit, hints of grassy notes, smoke and minerals, and without any fakery or New World notes. In fact, this is the most old-school Pouilly-Fumé I’d tried in ages and got me dizzy with excitement.
Guy is a farmer, and as such can be stubborn. He and Didier Dagueneau would argue about the use of oak (Didier’s wines, glorious as they are, need a lot of time to integrate the oak treatment). When one of Guy’s parcels didn’t get the AOC nod back in 2010, he had a friend draw up an “F U” label and called it the Fumé du Milieu (see above, on the far right, the rather risqué label…). The wine then sat on its lees for 5 years in cement, before being bottled in September 2015. The result is unlike any Sauvignon Blanc from Pouilly-Fumé I’ve ever had, with waxy notes and mineral accents. Really cool, and a slap in the face of the AOC authorities.
I am happy to say that the wines have finally arrived, I can’t wait to show them.