Way back when I was in my early twenties, Pouilly-Fuissé was all the rage. The restaurant I was working at had three on their wine list. One of the greatest points of being a chef at such a young age was that I got to experience a lot of great wines early on. Drinking good wine didn’t mean I knew anything about wine, but I did know that Pouilly-Fuissé was the finest Chardonnay I had ever experienced by that point. And like all guys in their 20′s, I spouted off my knowledge with the same level of aplomb as the Phillie Phanatic shooting pork bullets from his pneumatic hotdog gun.
While Pouilly Fuisse has a lot more competition in the Chardonnay market today, it hasn’t lost any of it’s luster. A few salient facts: Pouilly Fuisse is the AOC (AKA wine region) for a few towns in southern Burgundy. The wines must made with 100% chardonnay. This particular wine comes from vineyards surrounding the town of Vergisson, although other surrounding towns ( Fuissé, Solutré-Pouilly, and Chaintré) can also call their wines Pouilly Fuisse.
We have used Evening Land wines at the wine school, but with a bit of hesitation. Their business is very different from a traditional winery, and I am not sure it’s a good direction for the wine trade. The “Evening Land” brand is owned by a investment group that started purchasing wineries in California, Oregon, and France in 2005. Their goal was to produce great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay around the world under the “Evening Land” label. They did manage to do that, but the project never really caught on with wine consumers. In fact, it seemed to confuse the marketplace. In the past few years, some of the wineries have been sold off, the firms founder (Mark Tarlov) left in 2012. The firm has recently started dumping their wine into the “Chairman’s Selection” program here in Pennsylvania. That means they are willing to sell their inventory at pennies on the dollar. This may signal the end of “Evening Land” in the coming years. It also means we hin PLCB land should be seeing more of these wines at good prices in the coming years, as well.
Sourced from old vines, this wine is mostly aged in tank, with a quarter of the juice aged in oak barrels for less than a year. This makes for a lovely fruit-dominated white Burgundy with fresh peach and sea foam on the nose. The palate pushes toward red fruit and veers back to ultra ripe pear with an undercurrent of toasted spices. The bright minerality moves forward into the finish with a refreshing bright note of orange oil. Medium bodied with a dose of buttery luxury, this wine is a great alternative to a Napa Chardonnay.