The communes comprising the appellation of Pouilly-Fuissé lie in the south-central part of the Mâconnais district about twenty miles to the west of the village of Mâcon, and are clustered in a roughly contiguous area of about 1,400 acres; they are Pouilly, Fuissé, Solutré, Chaintré and Vergisson. Prior to the official creation of the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation in 1931, the area was known simply as "Pouilly," but in order to avoid confusion with the Pouilly-sur-Loire appellation, "-Fuissé" was appended to the name in the final legislation. The two other communes entitled to the name Pouilly, Pouilly-Vinzelles and Pouilly-Loché, a few kilometers to the southeast of Pouilly-Fuissé, were intentionally given separate appellations, and are considered to fall slightly below Pouilly-Fuissé in quality. Together they cover only 285 acres, and the much smaller Loché invariably is bottled under the Pouilly-Vinzelles denomination, to which it is entitled.
The soil composition in Pouilly-Fuissé is extremely variegated and results in the vineyards being scattered among unplanted areas as well as areas entitled only to the Mâcon appellation. The finest vineyards lie on parcels composed of limestone mixed with slate and chalk, and these are found near the villages of Pouilly, Fuissé and to a lesser extent in part of Solutré, which also benefit from excellent hillside exposures. Solutré itself is dominated by an imposing crag, the Roche de Solutré, at the foot of which, legend has it, the liberator Vercingétorix built a great fire as a rallying signal to the Gallic tribes during their last battles for independence from the Romans. The event is still commemorated each year on the summer solstice, when a bonfire of vine trimmings is set ablaze on the crag's summit.
The average annual production of Pouilly-Fuissé is approximately 45,000 hectolitres, or about 500,000 cases, most of which is controlled by the appellation's cooperative at Chaintré; the smaller, independent growers typically produce wines of greater character and complexity, yet these are very rarely bottled by the grower himself. Maison Louis Jadot has long maintained agreements with several growers exclusively in the communes of Pouilly and Fuissé, and many years ago began delivering oak casks to these proprietors so that they could set off the fermentation of their musts in these casks. Blended with other wines fermented in inert materials, the oak-fermented wines create a Pouilly-Fuissé particularly complex in its flavor spectrum, with greater fullness and structure than is usually found in wines of this appellation.