Today I headed over to La Grande Epicerie and picked up a bottle of 2007 Michel Redde et Fils Pouilly Fumé “Petit Fumé” (Loire Valley sauvignon blanc) and a 2006 Merlin Mâcon-La Roche Vineuse (white Bourgogne). Thus marks episode two of my palate development series. The last episode compared Bordeaux Rive Droite to Rive Gauche.
Michel Redde et Fils has been owned by the Redde family for six generations. Since 1997 Thierry Redde has run the estate and his two sons Sebastien and Romain work by his side. The Redde family owns La Moynerie vineyard, which spans 40 hectares throughout the heart of the Pouilly sur Loire AOC. The soil is composed of limestone and chalky-clay, which makes for the “rich, harmonious and long-lasting wines.” A 15-hectare subsection of the vineyard is planted on the Saint Andelain hillside, with a soil composition of clay and sandstone, imparting the flinty characteristics so indicative of Pouilly Fumé.
The 2007 Petit Fumé was fermented at 16 to 18 degrees Celsius to preserve its primary aromas and was left on its lees for a few months in stainless steel tanks. Overall 2007 was inconsistent with an unexpectedly warm spring, causing early flowering, followed by a growing season marked by a cool summer, resulting in uneven ripening.
Merlin is run by Olivier and Corinne Merlin. Skilled wine-makers, they have always had a strong affinity to the Mâconnais terroir. Olivier studied winemaking at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune and then spent two years working in the cellar at a Jura co-op. In 1985, Olivier moved to Napa Valley, where he worked two vintages. Then in 1987 Olivier returned to France and took over the winemaking operations at Vieux Saint-Sorlin. Over the years Olivier and Corinne honed their winemaking skills and grew their knowledge of the local terroir, and by 1997 they founded Merlin.
Mâcon-La Roche Vineuse has a soil composition of clay and limestone. The chardonnay grapes are picked completely by hand. In the 2006 bottling, 85% of the grapes were fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and 15% of the grapes underwent the fermentation in oak barrels. 100% of the wine was subjected to malolactic fermentation and bottling proceeded after 18 months of “elevage”. The wine went through a light filtration and no fining. 2006 was drier than 2007. After a damp August, temperatures rose consistently until harvest in mid September, producing tender and aromatic whites.
2007 Michel Redde et Fils “Petit Fumé”
Varietal: sauvignon blanc
Appellation: Pouilly Fumé, Loire
Tasting Notes: Pale straw yellow in the glass. Aromatic, fleshy, effervescence on the nose, led by citrus, lemon and floral notes and a hint of apple. Dry but fruity and light to medium bodied with a very bright lemony acidity in the mouth. There are flavors of orange, lemon, grass and minerality, with citrus coming out from the attack to the midpalate, concentrating particularly on the sides of the tongue and the mouth. ABV 12,5%
Price: 10€ @ La Grande Epicerie
Appellation: Mâcon-La Roche Vineuse, Bourgogne
Tasting Notes: Pale straw yellow in the glass. Subtle nose with velvety, creamy aromas of apple, vanilla and minerality. A medium-bodied dry wine with good balance and apple-citrus flavors. 13,5% ABV
Price: 10€ @ La Grande Epicerie
And the winner is… It was a 12-round split decision with the Pouilly Fume edging out the Macon for its aromatics and acidic vibrancy.