Domaine des Pothiers, 2021 Update
Over the past few years I have found myself increasingly drawn to the wines of the Massif Central, whether it be the fabulous Gamays of the Côte Roannaise and Côtes du Forez appellations, or the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir cuvées of the slightly more nebulous Côtes d’Auvergne appellation. These wines draw me in with their distinctive if not unique style; there is nothing quite like these wines, with their ripeness and warm concentration often balanced with great energy and freshness.
Given that all these vineyards have been taken into the fold of the Loire Valley, it is worth remembering just how far south they are. From Roanne, you have to drive north for a couple of hours before you come to Beaune, and the jewel-like slopes of the Côte d’Or. The vineyards of the Côte-Rôtie appellation are closer, just south and east of here. No wonder these wines are so full of ripe character; their freshness comes from the altitude of the vineyards and the basalt rocks underfoot, two factors which combine to give the wines a delicious acid tension.
I recently took a look, courtesy of proprietor Romain Paire, at three recent releases from Domaine des Pothiers, including two examples of Gamay which typify the region, but also one of his white wines. The whites have no appellation, and so you can find vignerons experimenting with Riesling, Roussanne, Viognier and Chardonnay, among others. Romain has opted for the latter of these varieties.