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Vineyards history

Nièvre vineyards – Pouilly-sur-Loire

5 September 2019

The presence of vines is attested in the Nièvre since the Gallo-Roman era. But the Nièvre viticulture, as many other vineyards, truly flourished in the Middle Ages thanks to the religious Orders.


Nièvre vineyards are mainly located along the Loire and today cover around 1.500 hectares (Pouilly-sur-Loire and Pouilly Fumé : 1.240 hectares ; Coteaux du Giennois : 200 hectares, a portion of which is located in the Loiret ; Côtes de La Charité : 40 hectares ; Coteaux de Tannay : around 20 hectares ; and a few hectares for the Vins de pays de Riousse) while they cover around 10.000 hectares in 1860 and 5.917 hectares in 1909. The proximity of the Loire favoured wine exports towards West and explains why the Nièvre vineyards is part of the Val de Loire wine-growing region and not part of the Bourgogne wine-growing region.


At the end of the 19th century, the main grape varieties used in Nièvre were, for red wines, Gamay, Pinot, Teinturier, and for white wines, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Melon in the Tannay region. Today, Sauvignon is the most commonly grown variety in Nièvre as a result of the Pouilly Fumé hegemony in the Nièvre vineyards. Pouilly Fumé owes its name to the grey bloom, smoke colored, that covers the Sauvignon grape and to its “gun flint flavor” (flinty mineral aroma) typical of Pouilly-sur-Loire soils and of Sauvignon grape.


© Christophe Deschanel

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