Pithon-Paillé, Les Treilles Retrospective, 2014
I stood on the crest of Les Treilles, looking out onto a broad expanse of the Anjou countryside which stretched out and curved around before me, a truly grand and panoramic view of rural France. The village that lay before me, nestled in a bed of vines, was Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay, one of several villages of the Coteaux du Layon appellation. Beyond the village was the bocage, a mixed terrain of river, pasture and woodland that seemed so typical of the pastoral idyll that is Anjou. So expansive was this vista of countryside that it made the village seem very close, so close that I wondered whether, if I just reached out, I might even be able to touch it.
Below me, at the foot of Les Treilles, the wind rustled through the leaves on the trees, and beyond I could just make out the waters of the Layon. Just downstream lay the little hamlet of Chaume, and wrapped around it the vineyards of this appellation, and of Quarts de Chaume too, of course. Only 200 metres to the north, behind me, lay the hamlet of Pierre-Bise, a tiny gathering of properties at the centre of which lives who else but Claude Papin, of course. And upriver there lay a trail of Coteaux du Layon villages, from Beaulieu-sur-Layon to the less well-known Mont-Benault and then Faye d’Anjou, where Eddy Oosterlinck can be found, continuing on until eventually you come to Thouarcé and, if you know which way to turn, Bonnezeaux. No wonder that, for that one moment, I felt I was standing at the very heart of the Anjou vineyard.
These thoughts and sensations came to me when I first visited Les Treilles; years later, on my very recent return, I have seen that my memory does not deceive me. If anything I underestimated the natural beauty of this little corner of the Loire Valley, its vines shimmering green, the rocky crest of the vineyard bejewelled with pink-purple heather-like flowers (above) like no others I have seen in the region. It is perhaps not the heart of the Anjou vineyard, for of course no one domaine or vineyard can really lay claim to that title, but Les Treilles is certainly the heart of the Pithon-Paillé domaine. The Chenin Blanc vines planted here yield fruit both for an Anjou Blanc, the well-known Coteau des Treilles, but also the less commonly encountered Coteaux du Layon Belargus des Treilles. And with more than a decade of dedicated work on Les Treilles behind them, Jo Pithon and his family decided it was time to look back at what they have achieved, with a tasting of Coteau des Treilles, the domaine’s benchmark Anjou Blanc from this terroir.Please log in to continue reading: