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We were fortunate to meet the Pinon family back in 1981, and first became acquainted with Julien about 20 years ago during a visit he made to NY with his father. We followed his career with interest as he became a city planner based in Lille, but of course he helped out during harvest and eventually joined his father François at the estate, with the first labels indicating Domaine François and Julien Pinon appearing in 2015. Julien's first year on his own was 2021, which greeted him with a horrible frost in April that destroyed 95% of the crop. With the help of Vincent Careme and Jean-Bernard Berthomé, Julien was able to make a tiny quantity of one dry Vouvray, aptly named "Sauvée du Gel," but 2022 was a different story and we're very happy to offer the first wines from this warm and generous vintage. Our sincere congratulations to Julien who is brilliantly carrying on the family traditions at this wonderful estate!
2022 Vouvray Sec: Pinon chooses vines from more clay-forward parcels for its annual sec bottling. They average 45 years old and have been certified organic since 2007. The 2022 Sec is indeed very dry with 2 grams/liter RS and well-balanced with 4.6 grams/L total acidity. Enjoy it now, with aeration, but try to save some as well...
2022 Vouvray "Déronnières" This is the Pinon's best parcel on a hill-top directly above their cellar, with thin topsoils of clay and silex over the Turonian limestone. The 2022 is the driest Déronnières on record at 1 gram/liter RS and 4.5 gr/liter total acidity. Wow, Déronnières with oysters! But please but some in your cellar for 20 years or more to really enjoy this magnificent wine...
2022 Vin de France Petillant Naturel Rosé: 50% Cot and 50% Grolleau, from a tiny parcel in Vouvray planted by Julien's grandfather. This is an elegant and very delicious Pet Nat that will accompany just about anything and is delightful as an aperitif by itself. The aromas are quite pretty with ripe raspberry, strawberry and red currant with hints of rose and blood orange. The palate is fresh and creamy with raspberry and tart strawberry with a nice mineral kick and sappy fruit in the refreshing finish.
Returning Favorites: The superb 2020 "Buvez du Bon Pinon" is beginning to open up and show its greatness. "This is the renaissance of a cuvée created by my great-grandfather - a dry wine from our oldest parcel, planted in 1945 on soils of silex noir and vinfied in our oldest foudres - old 'tonneaux' from Porto purchased by my grandfather." 2018 "Trois Argiles" From approximatley 45 year-old vines on soils of clay over limestone in three east-facing vineyards. This brilliant demi-sec Vouvray is superb now, but of course long-term cellaring will create something very special. 2018 Brut Non-Dosé The 2018 was hand-harvested 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. Aged sur-lies for more than 3 years. Enjoy it now for its beautiful depth and balance, but peak drinking will be 2032 - 2050. A profound Chamapgne of Chenin!
Vincent Careme We're happy to feature two wines from Vincent Careme who not only is one of the most well-liked and repected growers in Vouvray, but who regularly makes among the finest wines in the appellation. His 2021 Sec is a lovely and vibrant very dry Vouvray that is simply delicious for current drinking as an aperitif or with anything from the sea. His 2020 "Le Clos" is a superb and very full-bodied dry Vouvray, a beautifully dense and complex wine in a luscious and forward style that is beautiful now and over the next 15 to 20 years.
Chenin Blanc! As our knowledge of wines and grapes from around the world increases, we realize that our current obsession with a few favorite varieties is a bit simplistic and out-of-date. But there's no denying that Chenin Blanc is a cepage that can produce sensational wines for current drinking or for long-term aging that are among the greatest in the world. So please have a look at some of current favorites from the Loire Valley...
All wines except sparkling discount 10% on a case or mixed case. Please allow until Tuesday 8/22 for pick-up or shipping.
(Arrives 8/22) 100% Chenin Blanc. Pinon chooses vines from more clay-forward parcels for its annual sec bottling. They average 45 years old and have been certified organic since 2007. The bunches are harvested by hand, rigorously sorted and direct-pressed slowly and gently. The juice flows by gravity into underground tanks for a spontaneous native-yeast fermentation that lasts 2-3 months and stops naturally in the cold cellar. The wine is aged on its fine lees for 4-5 months in a range of old oak, from 500-liter demi-muids to 20-hectoliter foudres. The 2022 Sec is indeed very dry with 2 grams/liter RS and a brisk 4.6 grams acidity, 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..) And try to hide some for 20 years or more as we've tasted 40 to 50 year-old Pinon Sec that was fantastic.
(Arrives 8/22) The grapes for "Les Déronnières" from 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 2022 finished with just 1 gram RS and 4.5 grams acidity, making this bone-dry but dense and beautifully balanced "Deronnieres" showing elegant aromas of lime-flower, dried pear, lemon zest and stones. The palate is very dense and ripe, saline and mineral with round white fruits, citrus and herbal notes with fabulous length. A great dry Vouvray with fantastic minerality which is a versatile "food wine" to enjoy now, but don't forget that this wine will age forever....save some for the next generation!
(Arrives 8/22) From the estate's website: "This is the renaissance of a cuvée created by my great-grandfather - a dry wine from our oldest parcel, planted in 1945 on soils of silex noir and vinfied in our oldest foudres - old 'tonneaux' from Porto purchased by my grandfather. We're using the label from the 1950s as well as the name of the cuvée - the famous 'Buvéz du Bon Pinon.' The fermentation lasted 2 to 3 months with only wild yeasts, which participate in the effect of 'terroir.' The fermentation was stopped by chilling the juice, followed by a soutirage, the wine then aged for 5 months in the old tonneaux. Aging potential of 15 to 20 years, serve with shellfish, oysters, cold fish, vegetable terrines, choucroute de la mer, rillettes and rillons." 7 grams/liter RS, 13.5% alcohol. This superb and elegant Vouvray is quite a contrast from the more open and expressive 2020 Sec. The "Buvez du Bon Pinon" is all elegance and depth, but quite closed, and just slightly opening on day two. The aromas are deep and creamy with subtle white peach, quince, earth, almond and stone, really needs time... The palate is dense and full with white and yellow fruits blending with earth, almond, anise and mineral notes. The wine is showing density and perfect balance but will need many years to really emerge - like the Huet Le Mont Sec, for example, give it ten years before drinking if possible - or a 12 hour decant if drinking now. Of course it's delicious today but try to wait... David Lillie
(Arrives 8/22) 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
(Arrives 8/22) 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 2018 was hand-harvested 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. Aged sur-lies for more than 3 years. This beautiful wine shows elegant aromas of ripe white and yellow fruits, floral and earthy with almond and bitter lemon. The palate is creamy and dense, round and ripe but with firm underlying acidity, with almond, earth and mineral notes lingering in the long finish. Enjoy it now for its beautiful depth and balance, but peak drinking will be 2032 - 2050. A profound Chamapgne of Chenin! David Lillie
His 2021 Sec is lovely and vibrant very dry Vouvray that is simply delicious for current drinking as an aperitif or with anything from the sea. "Aromatically this is a huge contrast to the 2020 vintage, kicking off with suggestions of bright acidulous fruits, smoky pear and peach, fragranced with white flowers. A charming style on the palate, softly poised with notes of pear and peach, but it comes set in an integrated frame of acidity, giving it a finessed balance. It has a fine energy in the finish, bitter and lightly gripped. A fine sec, this should drink well for at least five years, and probably a lot longer." Winedoctor
The Source du Ruault "Coulée D'Aunis" is from a beautiful south-facing vineyard near the Loire river on Turonian limestone with clay. The 2019 shows a lovely light gold color and aromas of dried pear, lemon zest, anise, lime-flower, almond and stone, very bright and vibrant. There is very firm chalky acidity on the palate, really a scintillating texture with white fruits, citrus, herbal and stone flavors. The finish is long and extremely mineral, almost bitter, with brisk acidity lingering on the palate. Give this a decant or open the night before if drinking now, serve this bright and vibrant Chenin with shellfish, a full-flavored ceviche, baked cod. Beautiful now, five to ten years of cellaring will be very interesting...
Domaine aux Moines is operated by Tessa Laroche, organically, and now with biodynamic practices as well, farming under 10 hectares of Chenin Blanc. The vineyards stand next to the famed 'Coulée de Serrant' on South-West facing hillsides of predominately schist soils. Since her arrival Tessa has been improving every detail to be able to make more precise, transparent, complex wines. The results are spectacular and she is now one of the best examples of Roche-aux-Moines, and of course also Savennières. The 2021 Roche aux Moines from Tessa Laroche is a superb Chenin Blanc that features vibrant acidity and minerality, showing elegant aromas of pear and quince with limeflower and citrus, quite complex and pretty. The superb shist terroir of "Roche aux Moines" is fully captured in this wine which has fabulous depth of white fruit with very firm acidity and citrus, anise and stone in the long finish. "The 2021 from Tessa is very pretty with a dense concentration for the vintage, a lot of energy. Really go for it" says our friend Pascaline. Superb as a young wine, the aromas will open and evolve at about ten years, enjoy until 2041. Serve with pike, seabass, turbot, langoustines, scallops and lobster, not to mention risotto with truffles, riz de veau and andouilletes de Lyon au vin blanc...
The 2019 Jousset 1er Rendez-Vous "Version Longue"is from 5 to 100 year-old vines from 8 parcels in Montlouis with clay and silex soils over limestone. The grapes are hand-harvested into small containers, all cellar functions are by gravity, fermentations are with wild yeasts, aging is 10 months in large used barrels then an additional 24 months in vat. The wine shows very elegant aromas of dried pear, quince, fine herbs, beeswax, honey, stone and lemon zest, really lovely. The palate is dense and rich - a beautiful melange of white fruits, mineral flavors, citrus and honey. The finish is supple, dense and long with sapid white fruits, honeyed citrus and stone flavors that linger on the palate, Beautiful wine, only a few cases available.
(Arrives Feb 21) The 2020 Domaine d'Orfeuilles Vouvray "Silex" was vinified dry, highlighting the intense mineral flavors and chalky texture of Chenin Blanc in clay/limestone soils with a high content of silex. It's a pale straw in the glass with a nose that's delicate at first but hints at some hidden power layered beneath the surface. At 14% abv it's certainly robust and assertive with a sleek minerality coupled with firm acidity that suggests aging potential, while it doesn't feel overly hot. There's balance and texture and it would be great with seafood or lighter chicken dishes and provides phenomenal value at the price point! Jeff DiLorenzo
(Arrives Feb 21) Domaine D'Orfeuilles is known for the high concentration of flint in their clay/limestone soils, which one finds in the parcel of "Les Coudraies." The 2019 is a lovely "sec-tendre" somewhat in the style of the Pinon "Silex" or "Trois Argiles" having a bit of residual sugar to offset the wine's firm acidity. At a very modest 12% abv, the 2019 shows acidity in spades alongside it's hallmark flinty minerality and herbaceous nose rendering the RS as more of a juicy lemonade profile. Absolutely lip smacking and poundable in the best sense: at this price, an excellent party wine! Giselle Hamburg
(Arrives 8/22) 50% Cot and 50% Grolleau, organically farmed in Vouvray by Julien Pinon. This is an elegant and very delicious Pet Nat that will accompany just about anything and is delightful as an aperitif by itself. The aromas are quite pretty with ripe raspberry, strawberry and red currant with hints of rose and blood orange. The palate is fresh and creamy with raspberry and tart strawberry with a nice mineral kick and sappy fruit in the refreshing finish. Grab this before it's gone..
The 2020 Le Clos from Vincent Careme "impresses with its evident tension and sense of purity on the nose, which is filled out with mineral character, all smoke and crushed chalk. The palate feels nicely polished, substantial yet pure and focused, with a tense substance, combining mineral character reflecting the aromatic profile and a pure citrus fruit character. As hinted at by the nose, it shows fine precision, with chiselled edges. Great, long and true in the finish, this shows very well..." says WineDoctor. Recommended for current drinking and mid-term aging of ten to twenty years.
The yield in this vintage was 35 hl/ha, a relief after the frost of 2017. It was vinified half in barrels and half in cuve, and then aged in barrels for two years before assemblage in cuve. It was bottled in May 2020. It has a little evolution on the nose, as underneath the layer of white peach and minerals there are seams of white almond and hazelnut, as well as a little ribbon of white truffle. The palate is very pure, cool and saline, but feels softly textured and visceral, as if the warmth of the vintage has imbued it with a little muscle. The midpalate feels peppery and more energetic though, before it culminates in a wonderfully long and charged finish.
(Arrival May 9) The 2019 "Clos des Molières" is from 30 year-old Chenin Blanc vines in a mid and upper slope parcel of thin clay and silex soils on limestone, yields of 25 hl/ha, certified organic with biodynamic methods as well, fermented and aged in 2 year-old 400 liter barriques. After one year, the wine is assembled in barrel or cuve and ages for an additional 6 months, followed by a minimum of 6 months in bottle before commercialization. The wine shows subtle aromas of almond, lemon verbena, dried pear, apricot and apple, chalk and stone. The palate is full and dense but vibrant with a chalky texture and subtle, complex white and yellow fruits, citrus, and almond, scintillating and long. It's a wine of contemplation that will open up nicely with time. Serve now with a mildly flavored ceviche, grilled fish, white meats and goat cheesees or hold for ten+ years. This is a lovely Jasnières, bravo to Sébastien Cornille. David Lillie