“Pouillon’s ‘Solera’ MV (multi-vintage), formerly labelled ‘Brut Vigneron’, was the one that started it all. Champagne has always been a passion but for some bizarre reason I never quite gave it the same respect as other classics such as Bordeaux or Burgundy, simply because it contained bubbles. The ‘Solera’ was my epiphany, the moment when the penny dropped... This isn’t just great Champagne; this is quite simply a great wine! My joyous exploration and understanding of what is now the world’s most exciting wine region all began here; what more can I say?”
The Pouillon family have been growers in Champagne for centuries but it was not until 1947 that this small, family-owned estate was established by Roger Pouillon.
Champagne Roger Pouillon was created with the help of his wife, Bernadette, and his uncle, Louis Baulant, who was a well-known winemaker and consultant in the region. As long-term grape contracts began to expire, the Pouillon family was able to grow the estate by re-claiming their familial terroirs. Roger’s only son, James Pouillon, joined the winery in 1964 and modernised the cellar by introducing enamel-lined tanks and gyropalletes. Today the domain is managed by James’ very talented son, Fabrice Pouillon, a third-generation champagne producer whose approach was very much inspired by his grandfather. Fabrice started working in the family business in 1998 after first studying oenology and gaining valuable work experience in Bordeaux (Sauternes) and Burgundy, where he developed his ideas on oak fermentation and maturation. Since 2004, Fabrice and his wife Élodie have been in complete control of the estate.
Headquartered in the 99% Premier Cru village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ (the home of Billecart-Salmon), the great majority of Pouillon’s vines are also located in this much underrated village. The wines are similar to neighbouring Aÿ, but with more finesse, and elegance. The overall quality of the growers in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ is very high indeed and there is no doubt that it is worthy of Grand Cru status. In addition to their main vineyards of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Pouillon also maintains strategic vines nearby, including Grand Cru plots and the other 99% village, Tauxières (cru classification revision, anyone?). All Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is sourced from villages in the vicinity of Pouillon’s base; their Pinot Meunier has a slightly longer ride into the winery from Festigny.
Fabrice and his wife Élodie practice what is called ‘culture raisonnée’, an approach close to organic farming that eschews the use of chemical fertilizers, defoliants, and fungicides. Grass is allowed to grow between grape rows and the earth is turned periodically in order to encourage bacterial proliferation and diversity, which is reflected in the individual expressions of ‘terroir’ in their Champagnes. Pouillon began conversion to organic viticulture in 2003, however, today they incorporate biodynamic principles into work practices including compost management, spraying herbal infusions rather than harsh pesticides and applying treatments 500 and 501 (the recipe for which is specified in biodynamic agricultural standards).
These are very much ‘terroir’ driven wines which are sought by collectors and aficionados alike. The wines possess incredible depth of flavour and complexity, with a spine of mineral acidity and unbelievable length of palate. Average vine age is an impressive 35-40 years with older vines going into the more prestigious cuvées.
The Pouillon family are proud that they remain fiercely independent and that the entire production is sold under their own label: neither grapes, wine, nor bottles are sold to négociants. It is in common spirit that I am proud to present to you these independent grower Champagnes that justify and remind us of the status Champagne holds, through their deeply personal expression of terroir.
Champagne R. Pouillon
17 Rue d'Aÿ, 51160 Mareuil-sur-Aÿ
Tel: +33 3 26 52 63 62