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Officially classified as a Vin de Qualité Supérieure in 1951, Saint-Pourçain was upgraded to full AOC status in 2009. AOC Saint-Pourçain is made up of 19 communes spread over some 600 hectares centered around the small town of Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule in central France. The Sioule River is a tributary of the Allier River which in turn is a tributary of the Loire; this points to the uniqueness of Saint-Pourçain, which although technically is part of the Loire Valley, is as close to Burgundy or the Rhône Valley as it is to the Loire.
Terroirs range from chalky clay slopes of the Sioule to high sandy gravel alluvial terraces overlooking the Allier and granite soils in the western vineyards. Red wine makes up just over half of total production, followed by white and rosé. Gamay and Pinot Noir are the red grape varietals Chardonnay, Tressallier (a local varietal) and Sauvignon the white ones. White wines are noted for their distinctive character as a result of Tressallier’s aromatic profile.
Sylvain Miniot is an integral part of Saint-Pourçain’s current story. He joined the appellation’s co-operative back in 1990 and since then spearheaded a large investment in the cellar, serving today as chief oenologist. Rather than just wait at the cellar for the grapes, he is involved in the vineyards, with a fantastic drive to encourage the winegrowers to reach full grape ripeness with every harvest and an admirable dedication to wine quality. As Jancis Robinson puts it, he is “the one to watch”.
Sylvain’s rosé is a pure 100% Gamay delight, an easily approachable wine for all. Aged 5 months on its lees in stainless steel tanks, it shows a light salmon-pink hue and reveals on the nose aromas of peach and apricot along with hints of raspberries and rose petals. The wine is full and inviting in the mouth, with a great refreshing crispness and a lively return of the aromas on the finish. Enjoy chilled on its own or with light dishes (a great pairing for spicy Asian cuisine!) and with soft, creamy cheeses.