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Pouillon was founded in 1947 by Roger and Bernadette Pouillon in the winegrowing village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ in the Marne Valley. From the beginning, with the active help of Bernadette's uncle, an experienced oenologist, they cultivated a small part of the grapes themselves, although most of the production was sold to trading houses. Until the arrival of her son James in 1964, little changed; the business covered just one hectare of vineyard, spread over plots in Mutigny, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and Tauxières. Under the aegis of James, modernity arrived at the Pouillons, he invested in technical innovations and expanded the estate to about five hectares by 1987, including two hectares of Chardonnay in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger owned by his wife Josette's family.
Since 2004, the third generation in the shape of Fabrice has been directing the Pouillon house, who had already begun to lend a hand after completing his oenology studies a few years earlier. Together with his wife Elodie, he managed a massively grown vineyard area of a good 15 hectares, nine of which alone belonged to Elodie's family in the Ecueil region in the Petite Montagne. However, in the course of the separation of the winemaking couple in 2014, the house of Pouillon lost these vineyards again and since they had already given the land in Le Mesnil to another family member in 2007, Fabrice now only works around six and a half hectares again: three and a half in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, half in Aÿ, another half in Mutigny, Avenay and Tauxières. The remaining two are distributed between Festigny and Epernay.
This loss has certainly not harmed the quality of the champagnes; despite all the personal drama, the development can certainly be described as a healthy downsizing. From the very beginning, Fabrice has placed great emphasis on optimising the vineyard work; in the meantime, he works de facto organically, even though he is not striving for official certification. All areas are ploughed gently, partly with the help of horses, and all fertilisers, composts and plant protection are organic. In addition, some biodynamic preparations have been used for years.
Most of the plots are harvested separately, and the strictly selected grapes are then gently processed using a traditional 4000kg press. The fermentation of the base wines takes place partly in barriques, large barrels or in enamel tanks. Increasingly, however, Fabrice Pouillon is also experimenting with 400-litre oak barrels. The reserve wines mature in barriques or larger barrels; in addition, a perpetual reserve of now 16 vintages is kept as the basis of the "Solera" cuvée. All wines undergo biological acid reduction.
The "Réserve" cuvée, the basis of the range, consists of 70 percent wines from a single vintage, supplemented by 30 percent reserve wines. Its composition of 65 per cent Pinot Noir, 15 per cent Chardonnay and 20 per cent Pinot Meunier exactly reflects the variety mix in the vineyards. In addition, there is a rosé prepared in a maceration process and a whole range of single-vineyard vintage champagnes, some single-varietal, some cuvées, and a small amount of white and red still wine. The fascinating counterpoint is the aforementioned "Solera".
In general, the champagnes of the house of Pouillon are full-bodied, enormously dense in texture and characterised by ripe fruit, but without lacking finesse. The efforts in the vineyard and the optimisation of the ageing in wood have paid off - not only we at Champagne Characters are sure that Fabrice Pouillon will soon be playing in the top league of Champagne producers.
Facts: R.M., Mareuil sur Ay, Vallée de la Marne, 6.5 ha, 60,000 b./yr.