François Pinon, 2018 Update

I woke to the quality of the wines made by François Pinon in a quite gradual fashion. I think it took me some time to understand the style, which combines the cool structure and firm acidities engendered by the location of his vineyards, which are largely around the Vallée de Cousse, with balancing residual sugar. It is a deliberate combination, François always arguing that the cooler acid-rich style that typifies the wines of the Vallée de Cousse really needs a little residual sugar to give the wines some sense of balance. The optimal style from these deuxièmes côtes vineyards is very different, it would seem, to that from the premières côtes, where the sec style is certainly no less balanced or successful than demi-sec. It is with time that I have come to realise just how great his wines are, an understanding that has been made much easier by getting to grips with some older vintages of his various moelleux cuvées, some of which are simply stunning.

François Pinon

François Pinon took over from his father Claude Pinon back in 1987, François having given up a successful career in psychoanalysis in order to take the family domaine in hand. The two did not work together very long, barely a year. Today François is assisted by his own son Julien Pinon (pictured above), and it seems as though he will have a somewhat longer apprenticeship, surely a good thing. He left behind his job in town planning in Lille to return to Vouvray He first studied for one year at Amboise – “the only organic wine school in France”, Julien tells me – but has already been back at the domaine for two years, and the two continue to work together. In addition, father and son also have a new assistant, as in December 2017 they took on Etienne de Bonnaventure – previously of Château de Coulaine in Chinon – as a permanent member of the team.

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