Philippe Valette ‘Et Pourtant…’ Vin de France
Philippe Valette makes my favourite wines of the Macon. His farming practices are the best in the region: firstly, farming is organic and free of all chemical sprays. Philippe also aerates through tilling and grassing to encourage significant soil organism biodiversity. The grapes hang longer here than normal – making the wines quite rich in fruit. Yet, the acidity levels remain high and the potential alcohol reasonable. The Domaine holds 8.5 hectares around the village of Chaintré, on the border with Beaujolais.
After hand-picking, the grapes see a gentle pressing and fermentation with indigenous yeasts and always in old barrels. Some of the Valette wines see extreme elevage, upwards of 72 months. Valette uses very little sulphur and only at bottling. The old-vine bottling Clos de M. Noly, acquired at SF’s Terroir, is one of the greatest Chardonnays I have ever had – see my original review here.
Et Pourtant means “And yet…”, a name to go along with the Vin de France classification on the label as a result of the Macon regulatory ‘tasting panel’ rejecting the wine as too atypical. Originally Valette called this “Je Suis Vire” but was told to cut the “Vire” from the name due to conflict with appellation naming rules. Yes this wine is atypical. It is slightly cloudy due to non-filtration. It is incredibly rich, but completely texturally soft and pure. There is no reduction at all – meaning purer fruit expression and less harshness. And yet… putting the Et Pourtant side by side with a Macon from Domaine Lafon, I’d pour the latter down the drain frankly for all its harsh sulphur.
Valette Maconnais whites offer the purest fruit in the appellation. They are by far my favourite wines of the Macon. They are absolutely amazing values that taste better than many Cote d’Or bottlings. I plead with any importer reading this to convince these guys to join you in the BC market. Ingredient-focused restaurants need these wines on their lists.
Excellent and Highly Recommended Value
~$30-35 USD at Arlequin in SF