This high quality 20 hectare domaine, run by Jean-Michel Masson and his family, is a source of classic Pouilly-Fume. The domaine has banned all fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides in the vineyards. They are not certified as organic because they are concerned at the accumulation of copper in the soils – copper sulphate is the only organically approved fungicide – and they reserve the right to use a minimum necessary of fungicide, a pragmatic culture raisonnee. In the cellar they are equally respectful of the environment; they are a gravity-fed winery, and conserve the carbon dioxide from fermentation to limit the use of sulphur and naturally stabilise their wines. The grapes used for the Villa Paulus are from vines grown on Kimmeridgian marl, with high organic matter content. Careful vineyard management and winemaking practices yield a wine with excellent balance, vitality and minerality.

Domaine Masson-Blondelet Pouilly-Fumé Villa Paulus 2012: This cuvée, from Kimmeridgian limestone, has a pale, clean, lightly straw-tinged hue in the glass. It leads with a simply captivating nose, expressive and pungent, full of citrus fruits, flinty minerals and greengage vivacity, the overarching effect a suggestion of tension and upright posture. There follows a fine substance on the palate, with a broad texture in the mouth, and perhaps rather more capsicum-like varietal character than I found on the nose, but it is cut through by poised acidity and a fine seam of delicate, freshly knapped flint for interest. Great character here, rounded off by a taut, pithy finish, and it has some length too. Very good. 17.5/20. Chris Kissack, August 2014




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