To Fumé or not to Fumé, that is the question
My last post reminded me of the debate we've had regarding our use of the term Fumé Blanc. Ever since I can remember, this name, this wine-- and all that it represents, has been the lifeblood of our winery. Truly, I can't remember a time when Fumé Blanc hasn't been the backbone of our business, our dinner table, and our family.
But, there's a lot of confusion between Fumé Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. To set the record straight, both wines are made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape. Fumé Blanc is merely an alternate name for a wine that can be made in a wide variety of styles, depending on winery, winemaking philosophy, region, etc.
Ours is produced in the classic Loire Valley style (think Pouilly Fumé) emphasizing fresh citrus fruit, vibrant acidity and a crisp clean finish. And, we never use oak. Since 1972, when Dad first introduced this wine to the world, we have called ours Fumé Blanc. While the name may be old fashioned, the wine is definitely not.
But now-a-days, it seems that Fumé Blanc is suffering from a bit of an identity crisis, kind of like Oldsmobiles and polyester. Young, hip wine drinkers, (who often work at young, hip restaurants) don't really understand it, and they generally don't care to try.
In pondering the subject, we asked for opinions from just about everybody. As you can imagine, the feedback ran the gamut. Our sales people said change it. No surprise there. Our distributors were split, as were restaurants and wine shops. But it was the consumer, the people who buy our wines in our tasting room, off store shelves and on restaurant wine lists, who had the most to say. And in the end, their nostalgia and fond memories associated with our Fumé Blanc, spoke directly to our hearts. Seems that a lot of you folks cut your teeth on our Fumé, and to call it something else just to suit the times, would simply be wrong.
So, we're sticking with the name Fumé Blanc. We're honoring tradition, bucking the trend, and hunkering down to educate a whole new generation of wine drinkers who might not know about the merits of this delightful and beguiling wine.
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