Domaine Pichot Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Peu de la Moriette 2002
Last week I wrote that I would focus on Vouvray with my next few Weekend Wines. And so here I am, true to my word (wonders never cease), back in Vouvray with a wine from the recently profiled Domaine Pichot. This long-established but under-appreciated domaine dates back to 1770, the pre-Revolutionary Ancien Régime no less, and as I mention in my profile the family hold the original documents describing the purchase of their first vineyards. This means last year the domaine passed a significant milestone, having passed 250 years in the hands of the same family; sadly, I imagine the Covid-19 pandemic put something of a dampener on the celebrations (either that or my invitation was ‘lost in the post’).
During this long tenure the family have gathered together several significant parcels of vines. The first, on the Coteau de la Biche, sit directly behind the cellars where Christophe Pichot works, and these are the ‘original’ Pichot vines alluded to in those documents. The other major parcel is much closer to the town of Vouvray, Le Marigny, not a famous name outside the appellation but well regarded by Vouvray anoraks (I am beginning to think I might include myself in that group). And right next-door to Le Marigny, the domaine also has vines in the tiny lieu-dit of Le Peu de la Moriette.
It was Christophe’s father, Jean-Claude Pichot, who bought the vines (along with a small house) at La Peu de la Moriette, back in 1957. Leaving the family cellars to his own father, he moved into the house and subsequently built up a domaine of 28 hectares, of which Le Peu de la Moriette was just one small part, although he tended to sell all his wines, largely in the USA, under this name. The vineyard is tiny, by my reckoning not even a hectare of vines, hemmed in by Le Marigny to the south, and Les Grandes Plantes to the north. It enjoys a good position, right on the edge of the plateau before the land falls away into the little valley within which sits the town of Vouvray. This means underfoot the thin soils cover a base of Turonian limestone typical of this position.
The 2002 Vouvray Demi-Sec from Domaine Pichot comes from a vintage I have long admired. The 2002 growing season was marked by changeable weather during summer, with repeated bouts of cooler weather, but September saw the arrival of four weeks of delightfully warm and dry weather which allowed the fruit to ripen and concentrate. There was no rot, and the harvest was clean, the wines having always reflected this with a crystalline sense of purity, and this wine has obviously read the script. At nineteen years of age it has a shimmering bright golden hue, and a very expressive nose, filled with pithy fruit, crushed fresh apricot and dried orange slices, dusted with vanilla and white pepper. This energy is carried directly onto the palate which bursts with fruit, orange, apricot and kumquat all cut with interlocking seams of flinty minerality and delicately poised acidity. It seems to carry an impressive residual for a demi-sec cuvée, so even at this age this still has a punchy demi-sec style, combined with that expressive fruit and crystalline vivacity. Long, charged, yet voluptuous, this has many years ahead of it yet. 95/100 (22/2/21)
Read more in:
- My detailed profile of Domaine Pichot
- Reports and tastings of the Loire 2002 vintage
- My guide to Chenin Blanc