Editor’s Note: Since our inception, Domaine de la Collonge Pouilly-Fuissé has been one of only a hand full of white wines that we have featured more than once in the past five years, and that is on account of the accolades we have received from our vociferous membership. First and foremost, members have raved about Gilles Noblet’s exquisite Pouilly-Fuissé and asked for it repeatedly. Not surprisingly, Noblet’s Pouilly-Fuissé is one of the most consistently fine wines made in the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation. Moreover, Noblet’s 2004 rendition is a veritable masterpiece; it may even be Gilles Noblet’s finest estate bottling of Pouilly-Fuissé to date. Enjoy!
Gilles Noblet’s Domaine de la Collonge is a small family owned and run domain of only 22 acres. Gilles is the fourth generation member of his family to make wine at this prized property. For the record, Gilles’ wife, also, comes from a renowned winemaking family. Madame Noblet is the sister of Jacky Janodet, the present dean of Grand Cru Beaujolais, so wine and winemaking run deep in the heart and soul of this estate as well as in the terroir of Domaine de la Collonge’s well-tended vineyards.
The name Domaine de la Collonge derives from the sector or area (known as an aire) of the Fuissé commune that is called Collonge. Most of Gilles Noblet’s estate is spread along the hills of la Collonge, which yield on average only a little more than six thousand cases of Pouilly-Fuissé each year. However, Monsieur Noblet also fashions small quantities of Macon- Fuissé, Pouilly-Loché, and St. Véran – all elegant Chardonnay based wines similar to Pouilly-Fuissé – which emanate from neighboring appellations just outside the boundary of Pouilly-Fuissé.
Although not certified organic, Domaine Gilles Noblet practices sustainable agriculture and uses non-interventionist methods almost exclusively. No artificial fertilizers or insecticides are employed, and only natural yeast is used in fermentation. Moreover, the average age of the vines at Domaine de la Collonge averages more than forty years of age, while many vines are considerably older. These old vines and reduced yields result in wines that are more generous and concentrated than the average Pouilly-Fuissé – a wine as well as an appellation that is notorious for more than its share of pleasant but uninspiring offerings due to overproduction.
In an appellation that turns out large quantities of wine, Gilles Noblet decided a long time ago to dance to a different beat. Rather, the Domaine de la Collonge style of Pouilly-Fuissé is one of concentration, purity, and the honest expression of the appellation’s terroir. Noblet’s Pouilly-Fuissé features a real balance between flesh and bone or fruit and minerality, if you will. In addition, Noblet uses traditional wooden foudres (large wooden tanks) with temperature control elements for fermentation to insure texture and a gentle roundness in his wine. He also ages his wine in a combination of foudres and small oak barriques, only 20% or less are new each year. The limited use of new oak is practiced expressly, so that the oak barrels impart roundness and texture to the wine without an overwhelming taste of oak that would destroy the natural delicacy of Pouilly-Fuissé. In essence, this is classic white Burgundy as well as outstanding Pouilly-Fuissé.