Domaine Jo Pithon “Les Pépinières” Anjou 2005
Sadly, Domaine Jo Pithon no longer exists. The reason is best explained through the unusual parallel between Domaine Jo Pithon and Domaine Huet. Both are top Loire Valley wineries with iconic winemakers and both brought in investors to deal with debt that appointed new consultants and pushed the brands in new directions and both saw their original owners and winemakers leave as a result of the friction. In the case of Pithon, Jo walked out in January 2008 and the winery changed its name to Domaine FL. Pithon now works under the auspices of Pithon-Paillé a negociant that also has about 5 hectares of its own vines in Anjou, which Pithon personally owned. Sadly, other than this vineyard the rest of the original vineyards are owned by Domaine FL. While I have not tasted the new wines at Pithon-Paillé, they are apparently quite worth-while.
The Pithon Style
The original Domaine Jo Pithon wines are marvels of Chenin blanc. The winery was founded in 1978 and thus its best sites had a reasonable degree of vine age. The dry wines, of which this is one, were all aged 12-18 months on the lees in used oak after native ferments and full malo-lactic. As you might guess from the vinification techniques, these are big, rich wines. But because this is the Loire and its native wunderkind Chenin Blanc, the wines are filled with acid for very long ageing.
The vineyard Les Pépinières is planted in sandstone and carboniferous soils.
Chenin: The World’s Best Value Great White
Chenin Blanc deceives many tasters. Reviewers who taste the wines young and rate them do drinkers a disservice. Only the most experienced Loire critics actually appreciate how a particular bottle of Chenin Blanc ages and the extent of its transformation in bottle. That transformation is not always uniform and there can be dull periods. In the best wines the transformation continues for decades. Thus, I suggest not buying Loire Chenin based on most critical appraisals of the young wines. Instead, find producers with good reputations and buy broadly to experience the wines yourself. Age them at least 8 years and give the best wines 15-20. These are the very best value great whites of the world. Nothing can compare in QPR. This wine is case in point with mediocre reviews upon release that in my opinion do not accurately reflect the wine’s current marvellous state.
As for this Pithon Anjou – it’s a wonderful, intense version of Chenin Blanc and after 9 years is showing its secondary development very well. Classic wool, red apple and broad, rich texture. The wine has a lot of power and length and is well suited to richer white meats or seafood. I paired it with octopus pasta and it was outstanding.
~$35 at Marquis Wine Cellars (originally, but long gone). Some of the sweet wines are still available at Marquis.