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Domaine Figeat, Pouilly-Fumé “XXL”Loire Valley, France 2018 (750mL)  |  FREE Shipping on any 6 bottles!

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Domaine Figeat, Pouilly-Fumé “XXL” Loire Valley, France 2018 (750mL)

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol
Of the countless wines we direct-import from France, few have been as indelibly seared in my taste memory as today’s Pouilly-Fumé. There is usually a months-long gap (and often longer) between when I first taste something and when it lands in our California warehouse, so you’d think it would be easy to lose track of certain wines during their long journey here. But let me assure you: There was no chance of that happening with André Figeat’s “XXL.”

I remember its sensory full court press from my first tasting as if it were yesterday, and, like a little kid on Christmas morning, I impatiently broke into a box and re-confirmed my first impression when we received it in Sonoma. “XXL” may be the most aptly named wine ever—not because it’s overweight in any way, but because its intensity of flavor, varietal character, and mineral expression is so incredibly vivid. The quintessential kiss of smokiness comes from fossil-rich, flinty soils and some insightfully minimal winemaking thanks to father-son team Edmond and André Figeat. They both grew up with that inimitable soil under their fingernails and still rely on the savoir-faire of their winemaking forefathers, all eight generations of them. So here it is—that full-throttle Loire Valley Sauvignon experience that so wowed me then and now. With 2018 earmarked as one of the best vintages in Loire history, it’s an absolute honor to introduce this bottle...and to keep a few for myself!

The Figeat men learn winemaking through osmosis—some more literally than others. André fell in a vat of wine when he was 2 years old and hasn’t looked back since. And while he and Edmond’s winemaking methods are straightforward and traditional, their state-of-the-art winery proves that the Figeats are far from stagnant—always tweaking their tried-and-true formulas to better refine their wines. I was really struck by that pioneering spirit when I met André in Germany—enough that it inspired me to pursue his wines with dogged determination. One taste of today’s 2018 proves why: it rides the edge between rich and mineral with the precision of a figure skater, that same tension and grace you find in exceptional German Rieslings. 

Their 15 hectares of meticulously tended vine are planted in the fossil-rich, flinty soils between Pouilly-sur-Loire and Le Nozet. Kimmeridgian limestone, sandy clay, and especially the silex (flint) soils translate to that delicate smoky character which gives the wine its name, “Fumé.” That and the fact that well-tended, naturally grown Sauvignon Blanc grapes will cloud with a “smoky” bloom of yeast—the same yeasts that eventually help carry out a natural fermentation. The Figeats rely on these indigenous yeasts and eschew pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to encourage their growth. They’re small-scale, environmentally conscientious winemakers that prefer a natural approach from grape to bottle.

Even the most seasoned growers in Pouilly-Fumé can’t remember a better vintage than 2018. Summer temperatures reached an all time high and concentrated the aromatic and textural characteristics of both whites and reds in the Loire. Sauvignon Blanc at Figeat did particularly well, harvested slightly earlier than usual to account for the warmer weather. The Figeats used stainless steel for both fermentation and aging, gently and concisely extracting the grapes’ full depth of flavor, while preserving the mineral skeleton of the wine. A commitment to indigenous yeast fermentations and minimal intervention further confirms that ‘less is more’ when working with Sauvignon Blanc of this noble caliber. It’s hard to imagine that this bottle is related to its leaner, greener cousins—they seem laughably anemic compared to this luxuriously textural creation.  

It’s a light gold in the glass yet richly textured and instantly redolent of toasting cinnamon bread, quince, and lemon zest. It’s ready to drink right out of the bottle, although a half hour in a decanter will soften its glowing acidity and coax out an astonishingly salty finish. The palate is initially focused and then seems to spread across your tongue like melting honey. There’s that characteristic smokiness balanced by a gentle spritz of lemon pith and mouthwatering, diffuse acidity that wraps the whole experience in a silky bow. There’s powerful length, depth, and flavor—that’s a home run with a whole grilled fish like red-snapper, piled high with slices of juicy mango, red onion, and lime. Enjoy whatever remaining weeks of outdoor cooking you have and be sure to keep the Pouilly-Fumé close at hand—this unforgettable wine will burn the moment into your memory forever.



Domaine Figeat, Pouilly-Fumé “XXL” Loire Valley, France 2018 - SommSelect

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  • CountryFrance
  • RegionLoire Valley
  • Sub-RegionPouilly-Fumé
  • SoilSilex (Flint) w/ Clay & Limestone
  • FarmingOrganic Practices
  • BlendSauvignon Blanc
  • Alcohol13.5%

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionLoire Valley
  • Sub-RegionPouilly-Fumé
  • SoilSilex (Flint) w/ Clay & Limestone
  • FarmingOrganic Practices
  • BlendSauvignon Blanc
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • Temp.Serve at 45-50° F
  • GlasswareAll-Purpose Stems
  • DrinkingNow-2025
  • DecantingOptional
  • PairingSpiced Snapper w/ Mango & Red Onion

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