François Pinon, 2016 Update

There are many reasons why we should envy America. Admittedly, the current presidential-political situation probably isn’t one of them (although speaking from ‘Brexit Britain’, the old adage about a kettle and a pot comes to mind), but this is just a transient fly in the ointment. It can’t detract from the continent’s natural beauty, embodied best by Yellowstone National Park, even if I am only really familiar it with thanks to watching Yogi Bear (yes, I know he lived in Jellystone Park, but I am assuming the two are pretty similar). Then there is the Napa Valley, the Super Bowl, Hollywood, Hemingway and hamburgers. And of course who doesn’t envy a nation which has Thanksgivings celebrations, which to me sounds a little like having two Christmas holidays complete with slap-up dinners within the space of just a few weeks. And, for many years, I was also envious of the fact that those living on the east coast of the USA seemed to have unfettered access to the wines of François Pinon (pictured below), through a number of sensible wine merchants who were of a mind to import them.

François Pinon

Indeed, until very recently, it has been nearly impossible to find the wines of François Pinon in the UK. I have to confess at the time of my first ever visit to meet François at his cellars in the Vallée de Cousse, on the more northerly deuxièmes côtes of the Vouvray appellation, I had hardly even tasted his wines. I had decided to visit largely because of his apparently good reputation, which seemed to rest upon the positive opinions expressed by sensible Vouvray-swilling New Yorkers. Since then I have tasted them again and again, on repeated visits to the domaine (where I always bought some for my own cellar), and at various salons, either the Salon des Vins de Loire or La Levée de la Loire. Unbelievably, it is only in the past few years that UK drinkers have been able to stock their own cellars with his wines, although even now the choices remains limited. I still largely buy from French wine merchants, or from the domaine itself. The UK wine trade has a lot to learn when it comes to Vouvray, I think.

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