Pithon-Paillé, 2012 Update

It is always a pleasure to taste the wines of the Pithon-Paillé family; not only are they lovely people, but they put together an array of absolutely charming wines which as a whole often make for a delightful experience. As well as this, however, a tasting with Jo Pithon or one of the family always reveals something new and previously unseen, unknown or untasted. It could be news of a newly acquired plot of vines, or perhaps a change in viticultural philosophy or in the techniques employed in the cellar, or it could be the addition of an entirely new cuvée to the portfolio. My most recent tasting, in the company of both Wendy Paillé and Jo Pithon, brought news of all these things; to say Pithon-Paillé remains one of the Loire’s most dynamic estates would perhaps be something of an understatement.


New Vines and Vineyards

First up, the Pithon-Paillé vineyard is expanding. As fans of this domaine will know, the Pithon-Paillé portfolio features a range of wines from vineyards owned by the family, and also a négoce range. The owned vineyards do not constitute a huge expanse; the Coteau des Treilles, which looks down upon the Layon is jewel in the crown; then there are vines at Château La Fresnaye and as well as some in the Bonnes Blanches vineyard, opposite the Coteau des Treilles, a purchase I have already written about in my 2011 Pithon-Paillé update. The smallest part was the 0.25-hectare plot in Clos Pirou, a tiny portion of the Roche-aux-Moines cru, which yielded such a small quantity of fruit that in vintages to date it has simply been blended into the négoce Savennières cuvée. But this is perhaps set to change; a busy program of planting during 2011 has seen the Pithon-Paillé holding within the Savennières appellation expand to 1 hectare, and although for the moment the intention is to continue blending the fruit of the Pithon-Paillé vines with the purchased fruit, it surely can’t be too long before we see a home-grown Savennières as well as the négoce wine in the Pithon-Paillé portfolio.

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