Auvigue – 2018


Céline Hirsch & Sylvain Brenas 2021 Maison AuvigueTasted with Céline Hirsch & Sylvain Brenas, in Fuissé, 30 April 2021.

Maison Auvigue
100 Place Saint Germain
71960 Fuissé
Tel: +33 3 85 34 17 36 (needs updating)

What a beautiful place to welcome visitors – the wines are good too!

Clearly inspired by the converted church that makes wine in Juliénas (the Vieux Eglise) here is a beautiful conversion of the old church of Saint-Germain in the centre of Fuissé, with the addition of a well-stocked wine shop – there are few places so well-sited for the wine tourist – ample parking in the town square in front of this ‘church’ and no need to move the car as you move yourself to the fine restaurant, L’O des Vignes, in the same square.

There was one year of work restoring and refitting the former church buildings. The owners had luck that it wasn’t classified as any type of monument, despite some parts of the construction dating from the 12th century. This church was abandoned in 1872 as there were often problems with floodwater here in the bottom of the village and in the church, the replacement church set higher on the hillside in the village.

The conversion work was finished in November 2019, “We were lucky that the 2019 vintage had modest volume for our first vinifications here,” says Sylvain, “With all vinifications its closer to 30 hectares worth of wine that’s produced here.” The domaine vines account for about 6.5 hectares but as you can see, there are many contracts for grapes too. You may recognise the face of Céline Hirsch, from Chénas, in my photo – she is responsible for the vinifications here.

Francis Auvigue started the story in 1946, the family at the end of 1990s, brothers Jean-Pierre and Michel, decided that they would like to start to vinify too – it practically was just négoce before – “So the reverse of many well-known names who expanded into négoce,” says Sylvain. “It helps us keep a close watch on the style too – we have many long-term contracts but 90% of wine sold is made by the team here now, only a small amount is delivered as wine today from a total of 1,900 hectolitres last year.

When Sylvain inherited the domaine the vines were not in great shape, the, now abandoned, church buildings were also owned by the domaine but the vines had been placed with the coop since 2010. “Everyone wanted the vines,” says Sylvain, “But they would have to buy the old church too – so not many were still interested. The original domaine buildings were in an old windmill in Charney-les-Mâcons but the cellar there was clearly too small. We have just a little Viré-Clessé from ‘the north’ from a long-term friend, otherwise, the farthest north we go is Milly-Lamartine – we don’t really know the people or the vines further to the north so we concentrate on what we know… We had to replant three of the 6.5 ha and started with organic viticulture in 2019 but we are moving towards 8 hectares of organic Pouilly-Fuissé – we think our Pouilly-Fuissés the core of the domaine – and this should take us about 5 years to achieve.

The main market for the wines is export, with the USA, UK and Belgium being the main three destinations.

The wines…

The labels a little traditional and each cuvée has a different one – maybe it would be more coherent if they introduced a more family/domaine style of labelling. The quality of the wines was very consistent – very good sometimes excellent and always with a great, tasty, finish – just a little more care is needed with the age of some of the samples.

They preferred to show the 2018 vintage. The labels are a long history here – the two labels with an image of Vergisson are the original of the family, then came a black label when the domaine was split after the grandfather’s tenure, the rest are a mix of some designed by an uncle and some newer styles. For the seals it’s a mix of Nomacorc, DIAM and NDTech cork for the individual climat wines – again some opportunity to become more coherent and rationalise – is cork best for them, or not(?)

2018 Mâcon-Solutré
Organic. All barrel elevage though none new.
A sweetness to the nose, a cushion of sweet oak. Vibrant – fresh – quite direct and a little minweral – a nice finishing mineral energy here – that’s an excellent MS – long and energetic.

2019 St.Véran Chênes
An assembly of origins – 1-3 year-old barrels for elevage
A more subtle, more airy nose. More direcrt, more structural in the mouth – I like the precision here – almost juicy too. This could do with another 12 months of patince but I really like the structure, nicely long too.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé ‘Solutre
An ‘assembly’ cuvée
A broad but not that exciting nose. In the mouth I have a slightly woody impression but not the typical creaminess of oak. The finish is good and grows with a nice depth of flavour – but for me, only average here… (open more than 24 hours but refrigerated)

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Heritiers Auvigue
Three parcels assembled – all 1er cru today
Here the aroma is a little high-toned, practically a little impression of volatility. In the mouth, silky, mineral – a layered delivery. The finish is super – a wine that gets better and better but I don’t like the start of this wine so I ask for a new bottle as it had been opened for more than 24 hours. The result was fresher, fine – no problem – that’s a good nose. Easy over the palate – good minerality – that’s excellent. Presumably, the previous wine would also improve aromatically with a new sample.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Aux Chailloux
A black label now!
Here the nose is more together – a little more oak but all good. Fine entry – quite direct before slowly widening over the palate. Strong finishing – that’s a very good wine – I like.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Crays
A name change for 2020 to keep the 1er label – changing to Aux Vignerais
A little greener citrus and more zesty impression to this fruit. Silky, more mineral. Fine mouth-watering style here. I find this excellent – I love the finish – like all the wines so far.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Le Frérie
Just 200m from the previous but less imestone and more more clay – plenty of iron in the soil here. There are not many producers using this climate name.
Fresh, faintly floral – the first. Extra wide, fine minerality – this is lovely in the mouth again – just a hint less mouth-watering but with more concentration than the previous. Vibrant finishing though

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé La Petite Parcel
This with a north-east exposure, 50 year-old vines.
Here’s a nose that has some width and some deeper concentration of the fruit – maybe faintly reductive. A herby style to this but with a nice shape and again a vibrant finish – more agrume here.

2018 Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles-Vignes
That’s the most interesting nose so far – with clarity and subtle minerality. Nicely vibrant flavour here with a decent minerlaity too. Holding the best of all – that’s excellent.

2017 Pouilly-Fuissé Hors Classe
Made this cuvée since 1996 when they made a second pass in the vines – hors classe because the degree was above 13.5°. Today this cuvée sees elevage in all new barrels.
A clear, more smoky, oak note on the nose. Vibrant in the mouth – that’s super, not fat but there’s richness to the flavour. Super energy here yes there’s oak but it’s on a modest level complared to the nose. Keep this at least 2 more years to lessen the oak, but another wine that’s tending to excellent.

2016 Pouilly-Fuissé l’Envol
Longer elevage for this wine.
This starts reductive but then moves through a more oaky stage as it freshnes up – no problems here. A width and a richness of flavour – beautifully textured and a really great finish.

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