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Alain Cailbourdin, 2022 Update

Alain Cailbourdin, 2022 Update

Of all the Central Vineyard vignerons I have met over the years, one that I have particularly enjoyed following is Alain Cailbourdin. The principal reason for this is that Alain’s domaine is a source of high quality Pouilly-Fumé, his top cuvées comparable in terms of character and interest to those from more famous names in the appellation. But I also appreciate Alain’s story; he was the boy who came here from Paris, with nothing, who through hard work and determination rose to prominence within this famed appellation. He has now been at the helm of his domaine, which he built from scratch, for more than forty vintages. Today, his name is synonymous with the Pouilly-Fumé appellation.

Briefly, because I present Alain’s full story in my detailed profile of the domaine, his first exposure to life as a vigneron was seasonal work. Having grown up in Paris, with no family history in viticulture or winemaking, yet come harvest time Alain had no qualms about trekking down to Pouilly-Fumé to earn a few francs picking grapes. The wine bug bit hard, and by 1980 the young Alain had established himself in the appellation with a few hectares of vines. He set about fashioning a small portfolio of wines, reflecting the appellation’s principal terroirs.

Alain Cailbourdin

In essence, that is the Alain Cailbourdin story, but now change is afoot. By my reckoning Alain must be in his early 60s, and I suspect he is looking to scale back his involvement with the domaine. Happily, ready to take over, is his son, Loïc Cailbourdin. Young (well, certainly a lot younger than me, anyway), intelligent, dynamic and innovative, Loïc’s presence is tangible, with a number of new developments at the domaine.

In this tasting report I describe the two principal changes in the portfolio of wines chez Cailbourdin, accompanied by my latest tasting notes on recent vintages, including 2020, 2019 and 2018.

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