Château Pierre-Bise, 2016 Update

It is something of a mystery to me why so many of the Loire Valley’s most renowned vignerons today seem to have earned their fame not necessarily through the quality of their wines, but through their persona, or through their adherence to certain winemaking dogma. In some cases a vigneron deserves the adulation, winning on all fronts, being biodynamic in the vineyard, using minimal intervention in the cellar, and ultimately bottling wines of absolutely exquisite quality. Some, mentioning no names, seem to fall down on this latter point, and yet they remain in the spotlight, seemingly based on their efforts alone. But isn’t it what is in the glass that matters?

Château Pierre-Bise

Meanwhile, there are other vignerons in the Loire Valley who, while neither biodynamic or even organic, work in a sensitive manner in the vineyards, take a reasoned approach when it comes to the vinifications, and bottle wines of truly exceptional, appellation-defining quality. Too frequently these vignerons seem to be overlooked, the methodology insufficiently dogmatic I suppose, and yet they deserve no less adulation than their biodynamic and ‘natural’ counterparts. You only have to taste their wines to see this. For every Mark Angeli there is a Philippe Foreau, for every Nicolas Joly a Florent Baumard and, dare I say it, for every Richard Leroy there is a Claude Papin, one of the Loire Valley’s greatest vignerons.

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