Tressalier is an ancient white grape from the region of Saint-Pourçain of northern France. The grape also used to be grown in other areas between Paris and Dijon, where it is known by the name Sacy. Today, it is primarily grown in Saint-Pourçain, where it can consist of 20-40% of blends with Chardonnay. It is fairly unusual to find a varietal wine containing 100% Terssalier. Steadily, even predating the phylloxera epidemic in the late 19th century in France, the number of plantings has been declining. As of 2008, plantings were down to just 12 hectares. The name Tressalier translates into ‘beyond Allier’, presumably due to the fact it was historically planted on the left side of the Allier River before it empties into the Loire River. While some are under the belief that the history of this vine dates back to the 13th century, Through genetic testing, it is now believed this is not the case.
This week, I selected a bottle of 2019 L’Incompris du Tressalier by Domaine Nebout, one of the very few producers to make 100% bottlings of the grape. The vineyards are located in the Val de Loire-Allier, IGP. This clear pale lemon wine had significant legs that trickled down the bowl of the goblet. The aromas of rising bread, lemon, pear, green apple, and grapefruit were notable upon putting significant effort into attempting to decipher them. On the palate, this crisp, dry wine was refreshing on a gorgeous summer evening. The moderate level of alcohol was enough to supply warmth when there was a faint chill in the air. The acid was significant and refreshing. The first thing that came to mind upon tasting it was golden raisins. As this note passed, white grapefruit, lemon pith, apple cider, steely minerality, and floral accents swept over the palate. On the finish, the golden raisins returned for a curtain call. The acid was sufficient enough to wetten the palate making this a great aperitif. It would also be an excellent choice with lighter seafood options. It’s a bit more complex and substantial than a typical easy drinking summer white wine but would be fantastic if paired with a light meal.