- Vineyard Area: 17 ha
- Soil Type: 45% Kimmeridgian, 40% limestone soils, 15% Silex clay
- Varieties Cultivated: Sauvignon Blanc
- Country: France
- Winemaker: Philippe Seguin
- Topography: Hillsides
Philippe Seguin is the seventh generation to work the slopes of Pouilly-Fumé. His father, Hervé, started with a few hectares of vineyards on marl and flint soils, and the two of them later acquired plots on the prized Kimmeridgian limestone. This variety is one of the keys to the impeccable quality of their wine and also a foundation of Philippe’s guiding philosophy: “richness in diversity.” Philippe explains that the limestone provides great fruit character, the clays give a full texture and the flint adds a lovely mineral component to the wines, which is why he prefers blending the terroirs instead of vinifying single-terroir wines. Each plot is vinified separately (40 percent from the limestone, 40 percent from the marl and 20 percent from the flint), then they are blended to achieve the stunning final product.
The Seguins have farmed the slopes of AOC Pouilly-Fumé in the Central Loire for six generations. Hervé Seguin started with a few hectares of vineyards in the marl and flint soils of the appellation and then later acquired land in the prized Kimmeridgian limestone soils after his son, Philippe, joined the domaine in 2000. Although Hervé retired in 2013, and Philippe now manages the domaine, the family remains at the forefront of the appellation with 17 hectares of land. Prior to joining his father, Philippe completed his degree in Enology and did internships in New Zealand, Burgundy, the Rhône, and Bordeaux. Philippe is fastidious in all aspects of viticulture and vinification and has been known to drop as much as 40 percent of their crop in a given vintage to ensure restraint and balance.
For Philippe, “richness in diversity,” is a guiding philosophy in both viticulture and winemaking. AOC Pouilly-Fumé is the easternmost appellation of the Loire, in the Burgundian département of the Nièvre, known for some of the most celebrated Sauvignon Blancs in the world. The wines take their distinctive aromas of gunflint from the terroirs, which are rich in Kimmeridgian marls, limestone and flint. Philippe’s vineyards are spread out between the communes of Pouilly-sur-Loire and Le Bouchot, where he and his family live, one kilometer to the east of Pouilly. Philippe contends that the limestone adds great fruit character, the clays add a full texture and the flint adds a lovely mineral component to the wines, which is why he prefers blending the terroirs instead of vinifying single-terroir wines.
All of the vineyards lie on southest-by-southeast-facing slopes overlooking the Loire, ideal for promoting ripeness and resisting rot in Pouilly’s cool and humid climate. Working with a small vineyard team throughout the year, Philippe farms sustainably and plows to aerate the soils. On six of the domaine’s 17 hectares—those prone to higher yields—a grassy cover crop is allowed to grow between vineyard rows to create competition for the vines and naturally lower the yields. In addition, the team de-buds the vines in May and performs a green harvest in July, resulting in approximately 55 hectoliters per hectare.
The harvest is vinified naturally by individual terroirs in small lots, using indigenous yeasts. As a result, fermentations tend to be much longer, typically anywhere between three to four weeks. Philippe vinifies the grapes in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks of various sizes, from 40-hectoliter vats to 100-hectoliters, and keeps them at a steady 17°C. The wines rest on their lees with occasional batonnages for three to five months and are racked no more than twice. The separately vinified lots are then reassembled and blended into the final cuvée of AOC Pouilly-Fumé to reflect the same percentages of their vineyard holdings; 40 percent comes from the limestone soils, 40 percent from the marl and 20 percent from the flint soils. Preserving the natural character of the wines is important, which is why Philippe prefers to fine them with bentonite and filter with kieselguhrs before bottling.