If you find yourself on the Autoroute des Anglais, the Autoroute that becomes the Autoroute du Soleil, driving towards Lyon or further south, and you look right as you pass Macon, you will spot two magnificent cliff-shaped rocks; the Roche de Vergisson and the Roche de Solutre. It is difficult not to be impressed by their primal presence. La Roche de Solutre is a protected, pre-historic site used by human civilisations from 35,000-10,000 BC. Pre-historic humans used the rock for hunting, driving herds of wild horses over the edge of the cliff. Lovely. More recently it was made famous by Francois Mitterand, who would make an annual ritual ascent to the peak.
Less than 2kms away, as the crow (or pterodactyl) flies is the Roche de Vergisson, a rock with a friendlier history. Between the two is an amphitheatre-like bowl which cradles the Pouilly-Fuisse vineyards. Slap bang in the middle of the bowl with a view of both rocks is the Drouins’ home and winery.
Thierry Drouin’s son Charles has taken over much of the workload recently and is doing an excellent job. They make a Macon-Bussieres, a Saint-Veran and a spread of Pouilly-Fuisse bottlings. Oak is used very carefully and never dominates. The wines are refined and, at the top end, the Vieille Vigne du Bois d’Ayer (from a half hectare parcel of 65 year-old vines) and the single vineyard En Buland (from the slope below the Roche de Solutre) are exquisite.
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