Domaine Jo Pithon “Les Pépinières” Anjou 2005

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photoSadly, 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.

Excellent
~$35 at Marquis Wine Cellars (originally, but long gone). Some of the sweet wines are still available at Marquis.

Comments

  1. Chris Wallace
    November 5, 2014

    One of the reasons that I enjoy this blog so much is the quality of the background info you provide. It provides context for the tasting, which, frankly is a big part of the whole wine experience, and is why there are wine geeks (not meant derogatorily). My experience with Chenin is very limited and I wanted to see where your praise for the wine came from. (My limited experience with Chenin Blanc left me with the impression it was insipid.) Since Marquis was out of the Pithon I searched around for another dry Chenin so I could try one and see if my opinion still held. BCLD has Chateau de Fesles La Chapelle Vieille Vignes (2011) for $26. I tried it and it was anything but insipid, and would fit in well with your tasting note above. A steal at the price, too.

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