Lark’s song at Pouilly-sur-Loire

Pouilly-sur-Loire is possibly the nearest major vineyard to the centre of mainland France. It’s nearer, geographically and oenologically, to Burgundy than to the vineyards of the lower Loire. The village sits on a sloping côteau of the right bank of the great river and at its centre are the family home, winery and cellars of Jean-Pierre Chamoux: vigneron here since the early 1970s. Jean-Pierre and his wife Sylvie are generous, hospitable and above all down-to-earth people. Don’t expect grandeur from a visit to this property; on his days off Jean-Pierre is more likely to greet you in his carpet slippers than in his vineyard attire. Airs are joyfully cast aside; graces are confined to easy, pleasant conversation. The couple have acquired an adjoining building, originally a lawyer’s house, which they are restoring to extend their chambres d’hôte accommodation. Recycled materials have been used to convert the original grenier above the property. No skylight windows for Jean-Pierre: he has used locally cut limestone to add two new dormers at either side of (and matched to) the original central mansard window. Guests who stay chez Chamoux eat with the family. Keen cooks, Jean-Pierre and Sylvie provide delicious classic and modern cuisine to match their zesty, bone-dry Pouilly-Fumé wines. The 2007 Les Chantalouettes is a great accompaniment to oysters with its aromas of lemon and pineapple. From older vines on higher slopes, Les Arables, has more minerality coupled with a hint of pear and what the French call bonbons anglais. Both wines are fermented and matured in stainless-steel vats beneath the main house. I love the way that normal folk in France talk passionately and with authority about food and wine. When I ask Jean Pierre what classic fish dish he recommends with Les Arables he says casually, “oh, you know, just some pétoncles (baby queen scallops) marinated in orange juice and some finely chopped peppers then sautéed in a little local hazelnut oil.”
Jean-Pierre Chamoux, Pouilly-sur-Loire 03 86 39 15 58


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