The journey from Sancerre to Pouilly-Fumé is not a long one, the two appellations facing off from either bank of the Loire. Nevertheless this short journey crosses many boundaries, these being geographical, political and perhaps even cultural. Sancerre lies in the Cher département, with all its Loire Valley associations and connotations, while the vineyards of Pouilly-Fumé are in Nièvre, which is in the Bourgogne region. I have long thought that Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé could be considered lost communes of Burgundy, akin to the vineyards of Chablis, wandering along the chain of Kimmeridgian limestone that runs across northern France. I am not alone in these thoughts; in her guide to Les Vins de Bourgogne (Editions Jema, 1985) Suzanne Blanchet begins her exploration of Burgundy with an extensive commune-by-commune chapter on Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Even so, it was not until I first visited the region I realised that – administratively, at least – Pouilly-Fumé is actually in Burgundy.
Having left Sancerre and crossed the bridge over the Loire into Burgundy country it is the commune of Tracy-sur-Loire that we come to first. Here we find Château de Tracy of course, one of the appellation’s most famous and longest established domaines. Barely more than a kilometre away lies another domaine equally worthy of our attention, though, that of Alain Cailbourdin.