Domaine Paul Corneau

The Domaine Paul Corneau was established in 1977 on clayey-limestone soil, over 13.5 hectares situated in the communes of Pouilly sur Loire and Saint Andelai.

About Pouilly sur Loire

The origins of the Pouilly Vineyard seem to date back to the 5th Century as a Gallo-Roman estate in the early days of the Empire. It is formed from the Latin name Paulium and the Gaul suffix accus (Paulus Domaine). Around the year 680, Bishop Vigile left the Pouilly estate to Notre-Dame-d’Auxerre Abbey.

The Pouilly/Loire wine-producing era expanded significantly under the religious settlements, particularly the Benedictines. This is not by coincidence. It is explained that wine growing is only profitable after long years of operating at a loss and any profits are always hazardous . The monks, unhampered by personal or family commitments, were able to achieve this profitability at a distance. On one of the sloping vineyards overlooking the Loire, an area of about 4 hectares has retained the appellation Loge aux Moines (Monks’ Lodgings). There once existed a house here, where passing pilgrims were lodged free of charge and the house, served my members of a religious order, acquired its resources from gifts to the religous foundation. One of these donations served to provide the pilgrims with wine made from a vine located in the Lodges, hence the name Loge aux Moines.

Once the feudal system became firmly established in the 10th century, the wine grower had a far from enviable life. Besides his ever increasing number of tasks to the lord of the manor, he also had to abide by the law. The lord set the “banns” for grape harvests reserving the best period for himself with the wine growers only harvesting only after him and dependent on the Lord’s press as the only person authorized to possess one, as he was the only person able to build an oven or mill.

Many lords living at the end of the 11th century left for the wars in the Holy Land and sold their assets to finance their crusades. Thus the fiefdom of Pouilly was sold to the Benedictins de La Charité for the sum of “3,100 sous and a silver mark”. Another monastic influence – the Carthusian monks of Bellary installed in 1209.

Pouilly wine was renowned during the 12th century. A fable titiled La Bataille des vins (Battle of the wines) boasted the best crus in France and particularly those of Pouilly which already enjoyed tremendous popularity. From 1356, the Pouillyssois, along with the rest of the kingdom, suffered from the torments of the Hundred Years War. The decades of war and their epidemics laid waste to the region. The wine-growing tradition nevertheless remained firmly fixed on the slopes.

More recently, acts drawn up by notaries prior to the Revolution mention several Communities of Winegrowers. After 1789, the peasants became owners of the national assets and lands possessed by the nobles and the clergy.

In 1888, mildew invaded the vineyards, with not one single basket of grapes leaving the stations of Mesves, Pouilly or Tracy, whereas previously Pouilly station alone dispatched up to 3000 tonnes in a good year. The winegrowers had just learned how to treat mildew when phylloxera (a devastating insect native to America) appeared in 1890. This led to ruin and many wine growers switched to other interests. After attempts to treat the vines failed, they were all uprooted in the next decade, with only a few vines being planted after grafting onto American rootstock.

The delimitation of the production area was decided in 1929. The Pouilly crus quickly regained their previous reputation and their quality was confirmed by the granting of two AOC labels in 1937:

Pouilly-Sur-Loire for the chasselas grape and Blanc-Fume de Pouilly or Pouilly Fumé for the sauvignon grape.

Vinification

The description of the vinification process at Pouilly-sur-Loire is deliberately very general on the methods employed. Each wine producer uses the same techniques (or more rarely others0 according to his own “finesse shot”, ie. according to the vintage, the land, his expectations for the wine and his experience, even intuition. He will not hesitate to adapt the vinification method. This is very important and explains, with obviously and most importantly the notion of different lands, why our Pouilly wines can vary from one cellar to another. This diversity is very much a strength, especially in a world becoming standardized. The harvesting period is from the end of September to the end of October. Once the harvest is done the grapes are pressed and by the third day racking the must occurs. Alcoholic fermentation then takes place over the next 15 days to 3 weeks. Racking occurs in January, Filtration in March, with bottling in April and beyond.