Henri Bourgeois is one of the most well-respected producers in the Loire’s Central vineyards, with 72 hectares on both the Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé sides of the river. Different sources give slightly different nuances to their description of the soil types, but the company’s website classifies them as the following three types:
- Clay-limestone, which gives rise to fresh, fruity vintages;
- Kimmeridgian marls, the memories of fossilised shells from the Jurassic Era that give intense flavours of exotic fruits and a superb structure;
- Flint, which initiates elegant wines with smoky, roasted notes and minerality of great finesse.
One of the first things than a serious wineaux learns is the difference between Pouilly-Fumé (a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc) and Pouilly-Fuissé (a Chardonnay from the Mâconnais in southern Burgundy).
Later they may stumble across the oddity that is AOP Pouilly-sur-Loire…an appellation based around the same Loire town as Fumé but based predominantly on the Chasselas grape (which is more at home in Valais (Switzerland), Baden (Germany) and Alsace (France)).
The love of Sauvignon Blanc also took the family to Marlborough where they make Clos Henri, a New Zealand Savvy with a French sensibility.
Here’s a Bourgeois wine I tried and enjoyed recently:
Disclosure: bottle was kindly provided for review, opinions remain my own
Henri Bourgeois Pouilly Fumé La Porte de l’Abbaye 2018
For a Sauvignon this was only lightly aromatic, more subtle than those of the antipodes, but that’s no bad thing. The palate has hints of grapefruit and gooseberry but it’s mainly lemon which shines. The finish is long and mineral. Overall this is somewhat on the simple side, but very pure and enjoyable. It would be at its best with seafood – perhaps some shellfish to match the Jurassic soils on which it was grown.
- ABV: 13.0%
- RRP: €25.95
- Stockists: O’Briens shops and obrienswine.ie