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Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Loire Right Upper Loire Right Pouilly-Fumé

The Pouilly-Fumé appellation has a longstanding reputation as one of the top areas in the world for Sauvignon Blanc. The natural flavors of the grape are bitter and austere, such as green fruit, lemon, and minerals. But in Pouilly-Fumé, Sauvignon's best qualities are mastered and concentrated into powerful, flavorful, striking wines that have just the right amount of acidity.

Confusingly, many Pouilly-Fumé vineyards are located within the large village of Pouilly-sur-Loire. The Pouilly-sur-Loire appellation itself, though, is unrelated to Pouilly-Fumé. Boisgibault, St-Andelain, and Tracy-sur-Loire are the other three communes that contain Pouilly-Fumé's vineyards. The appellation encompasses 2,100 acres of planted land, which produces about 500,000 cases a year of white wine.

Across the river from Pouilly-Fumé lies its main competitor, Sancerre. Though New Zealand Sauvignons are becoming increasingly good, these two appellations are still regarded as the best for classical Sauvignon. They bitterly compete for the top spot; critics are increasingly favoring Sancerre nowadays, but Pouilly-Fumé remains popular in the world markets. The flavors of the two regions' wines are quite distinct, and Pouilly's wines have an unusual smoky overtone that Sancerres lack.


Pouilly-Fumé doesn't have a particularly long history. The appellation quickly became popular once producers cultivated the distinct flavors that Sauvignon Blanc has here. In 1937 the region became an AOC.

Climate and Viticulture

Located right across the Loire river from Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé has a perfect location for Sauvignon Blanc production. The vineyards' proximity to the river, in combination with the general weather, makes climatic conditions excellent, and the drainage near the river is also good.

But once again the soil is the secret ingredient here. Pouilly-Fumé is one of the few white wine appellations in the world that is made up almost entirely of limestone-based soils. Usually it is red wines that are made from vineyards with limestone soils, but in this case the limestone gives Sauvignon intense but light-bodied flavor character. The Sancerre soils are similar.

Grape Varieties

Major Producers

We selected a total of 11 producers whose wines offer good quality in relation to price.


Pouilly-Fumé has no officially designated subregions. The majority of the wines are not named by vineyard, although some of the top-end cuvées from Dagueneau are titled with vineyard names.

Pouilly-Fumé's sister appellation, located right across the river, is Sancerre.