Alain Cailbourdin, 2021 Update
Over the past decade I have often gotten to grips with the latest Loire Valley vintage with the help of Alain Cailbourdin, one of the best-known and most gentlemanly vignerons in the Pouilly-Fumé appellation. Indeed, looking back over my notes, the last vintage in which I didn’t taste all or at least some of the cuvées from Alain was 2007. This domaine has thus become, for me at least, something of a benchmark for the region, giving me an early insight into the triumphs of the latest vintage, as well as the trials, such as the devastating frosts that hit many in Pouilly-Fumé back in 2016 and 2017.
Sadly, it was looking as though 2021 would bring an end to my otherwise unbroken run of tastings chez Cailbourdin. Every salon where Alain and I might usually meet was cancelled, and with international travel forbidden or at least very difficult, any chance of tasting the latest from this domaine began to slide out of view. Having hovered at “not impossible but unlikely” for a few months, it soon slipped down to “about as likely as finding a bottle of Dagueneau marked down as a bin end”. In other words, it wasn’t going to happen.
As it turned out, I reckoned without the resourceful and proactive attitude of the younger generation. For the past few years Alain’s son, Loïc Cailbourdin, has been working alongside his father on the family domaine, and he soon got in touch. And just a few weeks later samples from the 2019 and 2018 vintage arrived. My record remains intact!