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Domaine François & Julien Pinon is not the latest super-star or a rich person who has decided to make great Chenin - it is simply one of the great domains of the Loire Valley, in continuous production for 7 generations, producing Vouvrays of outstanding quality and uncompromising honesty and authenticity. It has been a great honor to know the wonderful people of this estate, and of course the wines, since 1981, and we are extremely happy that the young and very talented Julien Pinon will be guiding this estate for many more years of greatness...
Arriving this month are two new wines from the 2020 vintage - the Vouvray "Les Deronnières" and the Vouvray "Sec." While both wines show similarities to the superb 2018 and 2019 vintages, the "Les Deronnières" in particular shows a higher level of brightness and lower alcohol giving a sensation of wonderful freshness and accenting the intese mineral character found in these wines. Of course the wines are incredibly complex and delicious when young, but having tasted miraculous 50 year-old dry wines and 60 year-old sweet wines from the Pinons, we would advise the youngsters out there to forget some in the cellar!
The 2020s arrive in about two weeks, other wines are in our warehouse, in store by Friday, 8/12. 10% case/mixed case discount applies, except to sparkling.
This is a terrific wine and a great value! The Pinon 2019 Vouvray Sec is from vines in organic farming on clay soils over Turonian limestone. The fermentation lasted for three months, with no added yeast or sugar, and was stopped by chilling the juice, followed by five months of aging in old barrels, on the lees. While 2019 was troubled by frost in spring and periods of drought and heat, in the end the vintage produced balanced whites in Vouvray with good acidity and moderate alcohol. The Pinon 2019 Sec is indeed dry at 8 g/L RS and 12.5% alc and shows aromas of citrus confit, almond, green tea, stone, anise and white fruits. The palate has vibrant acidity with saline mineral flavors, and good density, with green apple and lemon zest, finishing with firm acidity, citrus, apple and wet stone. Give this young wine some aeration (!) or a few years in the cellar then serve with shellfish and oysters, grilled fish, vegetable terrines, seafood choucroute, rillons and rillettes (you may have to go to Touraine for those..) David Lillie
François and Julien Pinon make some of the finest sparkling wines in the Loire Valley. The superb Brut Non-Dosé comes from 45 year-old Chenin Blanc vines on Turonien limestone with topsoils of clay with silex, from four parcels; Les Haut de Terne, Les Hauts de Mortiers, Chopet and Les Planches Favettes. The 2017 was hand-harvested at the beginning of October in three passes in order to select the best grapes, with two additional selections - on a "table de tri" and again before the press. Thus the best and ripest grapes are selected, enabling this cuvée with no addition of sugar, as in a Champagne Brut Nature. (Two to three year elévage sur lies.) The robe is a pale greenish yellow hue. The nose offers an attractive mélange of stone fruit, green tea, pear skin, and flint on the nose.The palate is layered and lithe, with a fine bead, and soft mousse, featuring flavors of stone, orange oil, and quince, culminating in a sapid, mineral finish. This has fine balance and energy with compelling saltiness underlying the pretty fruit; in a word: superb! John McIlwain
The grapes for "Les Déronnières" from Francois and Julien Pinon (first made in 2014) used to be included in the Silex Noir, but this wonderful vineyard, the Pinon's best parcel on a hill-top directly above their cellar, much deserves to be bottled on its own. The very thin topsoil is clay with silex over Turonian limestone, and the beautiful exposure gives ripe fruit that is normally vinified as a demi-sec, but in recent vintages the RS level has been below 10 gr/l making it dry, in Vouvray anyway. The "Les Deronnières" shows a higher level of brightness and lower alcohol than in 2018 and 2019 giving a sensation of wonderful freshness and accenting the intese mineral character found in these wines. "A monumental freshness on an infinite palette of citrus fruits and quince in all its forms. Nothing less than exhilarating!" says our favorite French retailer "Vins Etonnants." Drink now or cellar indefinitely...
The 2020 Vouvray "Sec" is from 30 year-old vines in the "Mortier" parcel of clay on turonian limestone. This wonderful dry Vouvray is quite similar to the 2019 but with a bit more freshness in the dense white fruits and citrus, finishing with intense minerality, even a bit of bitterness as in the 2019. We would again advise decanting or opening well in advance, and of course long-term cellaring is an option.
Our friends Francois and Julien Pinon produce sensational Vouvray at their estate in Vallée du Cousse and the 2018 Silex Noir is another superb example. From approximatley 40 year-old vines on soils of clay and flint over limestone in the vineyards of Terné and Batailleries. The wine shows beautiful aromas of white fruits, citrus, wildflowers earth and honey. Chalky white fruits, earth, lemon and stone on the palate with a creamy texture typical of 2018, with nice finishing acidity and mineral flavors. A bit of residual sugar brings out all the best in this lovely Chenin Blanc, delicious now - decant a few hours in advance if possible - or cellar 20 to 30 years. Serve with rillettes and rillons, fish in sauce, lobster, langoustines and scallops, chicken in cream sauce, too. (26 g/L RS, 4.1 g/L total acid.)
Another outstanding Vouvray from our friends François and Julien Pinon in Vallée de Cousse, the 2018 "Trois Argiles" shows subtle, complex aromas of lemon, pear, earth, lime-flower, wet stone and almond. There is a hint of sweetness on the palate, perfectly balanced with firm acidity, with mineral flavors, white fruits, lemon peel and herbal notes. The finish is very long with citrusy acids and saline minerals. this is a beautiful young Vouvray that is delicious now with fish or chicken in sauce, Asian cuisnes, vegetable patés, asparagus and mild cheeses. This will gain complexity and become dryer with age, drink at least until 2050. 22 gr/liter RS., 4.1 g/L total acid. David Lillie