Pithon-Paillé, 2013 Update

From little acorns, large oak trees do grow. This old proverb seems quite apt in the case of Pithon-Paillé. The acorn was fashioned from what remained of the old Jo Pithon estate, after Philippe Fournier (now of Domaine FL) pulled his backing. What they had was a few tiny parcels of vines – often no more than a fraction of a hectare – and a lot of expertise.

Jo Pithon teamed up with stepson Jo Paillé, making a team of four including their respective spouses, and began to build a new domaine – Pithon-Paillé – with a swathe of rented vineyards and négociant deals circled around a core of their own vineyards. They kicked off based in Château La Fresnaye, but eventually new premises were secured, in Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay. Today the domaine has an impressive, still-evolving portfolio, the highlight of which is the Anjou Blanc Coteau des Treilles, but which also includes Savennières, Anjou Rouge, Coteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaume. In truth the latter two sweet wines are of no less interest to me than the Coteau des Treilles, although quantities are small and availability scarce, and it is hard to remain acquainted with such wines which – rather like the amazing Quarts de Chaumes of Yves Guégniard – just never seem to turn up for sale anywhere.


The portfolio also includes a number of red wines from Touraine, made along négociant lines. The owners of the plots works the soils and vines, and provided Jo is happy with the standards achieved he will oversee the making of the wine. If not happy, or if the owner of the vines wants out, then the contract is terminated; for this reason this section of the portfolio seems to be ever-evolving, out with the old and in with the new, although one or two wines seem to remain, year after year. These wines are good, although for me it is the wines from Anjou, especially those that feature the home-grown fruit (blended with négoce fruit in some cuvées), that provide the greatest pleasure.

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