Philippe Alliet, 2018 Update

Few of the vineyards and vignerons of Chinon and Bourgueil are well known outside Loire Valley geek circles. Accepting the fact that the Foucault brothers, proprietors of Clos Rougeard, arguably the region’s most cultish domaine, made their name in red wines, most of the region’s most famous domaines are known for their white wines. Louis-Benjamin Dagueneau in Pouilly-Fumé, for example, Philippe Foreau in Vouvray, François Chidaine in Montlouis, Claude Papin in Anjou and Pierre Luneau-Papin in Muscadet. I could go on, but you get the idea. In predominantly or exclusively red appellations, such as Chinon or Bourgueil, few domaines seem to have accrued a band of worshippers to match those that follow these famous names.

In Chinon perhaps the most famous domaine is Couly-Dutheil, the proprietor Arnaud Couly lucky enough to have in his possession the Clos de l’Echo, perhaps one of the most renowned vineyards in the entire Loire Valley. If I were asked to suggest one domaine for promotion to cult status though, alongside those listed above, I do not think I would suggest this undeniably well-run domaine. I think instead I would look east, in the direct of Cravant-les-Coteaux, where there are a number of domaines that might better fit the bill. Top of my list would be Philippe Alliet.

Philippe Alliet

Philippe started out during the 1980s, and he quickly acquired a reputation for deeply coloured and deeply flavoursome wines, albeit with a lot of structure and oak. In more recent times these latter elements have been reined in, and while the wines remain rich in colour, they are intensely perfumed and appropriately built wines which see out their élevage in larger barrels than in the old days, with less new wood used. Only the cuvée from the Coteau de Noiré, undeniably top dog in the portfolio, sees some new oak, and even then only 15% of the total used, which it is more than capable of dealing with.

These are excellent wines on the whole. I never miss an opportunity to taste with Philippe or with his son Pierre (pictured above), or his wife Claude for that matter. And I never fail to add a few bottles to my cellar. On this occasion I met up with Pierre to check out the domaine’s most recent releases.

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