Pithon-Paillé, 2015 Update

There are many dedicated vignerons in Anjou, turning out some superb wines, but few have been so resolute as Jo Pithon. As I have very recently published a rewritten Pithon-Paillé profile, however, I don’t need to rehash the whole story here. Suffice to say that only the strongest individual, one of solid conviction and who was not afraid of hard work, could come back from losing so much. Jo fits that description I think, and come back he did, teaming up with stepson Jo Paillé to create Pithon-Paillé, a phoenix that rose from the ashes of the old Jo Pithon domaine. In recent years the domaine has grown magnificently. They have added new vineyards and new wines to the portfolio, developed a fascinating range of Anjou Blanc cuvées showcasing this region’s many under-appreciated terroirs, and they have built up their foothold in Savennières, releasing the Clos Pirou cuvée from their own vines for the first time in the 2012 vintage, waving goodbye to the old négoce wine in the process. Jo Pithon started to take a back seat, and for the past few years Jo Paillé has been making the wines and calling the shots. Which is why I have to confess I feel a little numb writing this report.


Despite Jo Pithon clearly stepping back from the winemaking, he was still clearly ready to have his say when it came to the running of the domaine. This appears to have led to some friction between Jo Pithon and Jo Paillé. The disagreement appears to have been over making dry wines versus sweet, and the use of new oak. Unfortunately it seems the differences led to a rift, and Jo Paillé (pictured above) and his wife Wendy left the domaine this year, leaving Jo Pithon behind. Jo installed his other son as winemaker, and will continue on without Jo Paillé, to whom the domaine owes so much in recent years. I am greatly saddened for Jo and Wendy. It sounds as though it is a very depressing and delicate situation.

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