Pithon-Paillé, 2011 Update

One of the must-visit domaines in Anjou is Pithon-Paillé, now firmly settled in their new accommodation – which I first saw when I visited last summer – in St Lambert du Lattay. A few months ago I met up with Wendy Paillé once again, this time to taste the latest releases from the 2009 vintage (which were all bottled between July and November 2010), and one interloper from 2008. The range includes not only the now-familiar cuvées of Anjou Blanc, such as the Coteau des Treilles featured yesterday and the Bonnes Blanches, but also sweet wines, both Coteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaume.

We kicked off with the dry white wines, Anjou Blanc and Savennières, a mix of négoce wines and also those sourced from Pithon-Paillé’s vines. The Mozaïk wines are négoce, whereas the Savennières is a blend of négoce and home-grown as the Pithon-Paillé plot of vines, 0.25 hectares in the Clos Pirou lieu-dit, is too small to warrant its own cuvée. The site-specific Anjou Blancs are produced from their own vineyards in entirety, and it makes sense (to me at least) to work backwards from here. The 2009 Coteau des Treilles (below left: wild fennel and rocks at the summit of the vineyard) had a delicious quality, very close to the level of the 2008 which I have always enjoyed, and thus I am filled with optimism for this cuvée; I shan’t shy away from popping a bottle or two in the cellar should any come my way, and with the ongoing work on this site – explained in more detail in yesterday’s Coteau des Treilles update – we can look forward to many future vintages of this cuvée.

Pithon Paille

As for its Bonnes Blanches counterpart (above right: Bonnes Blanches seen from the summit of Les Coteau des Treilles), I am less familiar with it; this vineyard lies on the opposite bank of the Layon to the Coteau des Treilles, and was acquired by the Pithon and Paillé families very recently. As a consequence this is the first vintage for this cuvée, but I am happy to report that I found it to be of a similarly high standard to the Coteau des Treilles. Also of note are new developments on this side of the Layon; Pithon-Paillé are planting here, outside the Bonnes Blanches vineyard, a mix of Chenin Blanc and Grolleau, the former for a dry Chenin (although botrytised grapes will go into the 4 Vents cuvée) whilst the latter will be a vin de pays. They are planting this week, so don’t expect any sign of these wines for a few years yet.

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