2018 Tinel-Blondelet Pouilly Fume “Genetin”
When I was “growing up” in the food and wine world, Pouilly Fumé was considered the absolute epitome, the tiptop of Sauvignon Blanc. A tiny appellation, its hallmark pierre à fusil character alongside pink grapefruit and zesty passion fruit notes made it an amazing partner at the table or as a cocktail. Of course, nowadays its bigger sister Sancerre has all the cachet, and New Zealand often steals the show –by sheer liquid volume. Yet here is the enchanting “other” Sauv Blanc again, demanding our hearts (and palates) with its unmatched goodness. I speak of Tinel-Blondelet Génétin Pouilly-Fumé.
Now that’s a big French name to unpack, but it sorts itself out quickly. Pouilly Fumé is a region in France famous for Sauvignon Blanc. Its hallmark is a flintlike pierre à fusil character, developing from the Silex soils and producing a concentrated, long-lived Sauvignon.
The Génétin is the old 17th century name given to the grape Sauvignon Blanc, and the winery chooses this name to honor its top cuvee.
The Blondelet family has been farming in Pouilly Fumé (as well as Sancerre) for over 400 years. The current vigneron of the Blondelet family is Annick Tinel-Blondelet. As Annick puts it, she makes wines “that match her personality, frank and full of vitality.” Indeed, this wine is as dynamic as the woman herself:
Gorgeous fresh notes of Asian pear, lime and orange citrus, and white flowers backed up by a crunchy, chalky minerality on the palate and then yes – just a touch of the flint that gives the region its name. It’s so utterly drinkable that cocktailing the bottle is almost inevitable. Yet it also leaves you craving food – fresh oysters in mignonettes, English peas in cream sauce, roasted Bresse chicken stuffed with cepes and Cipollini onions braised in the chicken fat…but I digress.
Because really, the absolute best way to enjoy this wine is with fresh herbs and chevre, each herb mixed with a little chevre to create a tasting feast in the garden, where even in these socially distanced times, a pot of chevre and tarragon (or parsley, or chervil, or chive, or lavender) and a glass—nee, bottle—of Pouilly Fume creates a joyful, merry and lighthearted party.
That is how I learned that Pouilly Fumé is the epitome of Sauvignon Blanc. And here, we have on of the absolute best.