Variety: Chenin Blanc
Country, Region: France, Loire Valley
Produced only in the best years from 1 hectare of 60+ year old vines in the superbly sited premiere coteau vineyard of Le Marigny located opposite Clos du Bourg just above the village. The family spend months working this vineyard then harvesting by hand to produce between 1 and 3 barrels in the best years. These painfully low yields give a wine with remarkable acidity that masks its 298 g/l residual sugar. This stunning wine will age effortlessly for 50+ years given careful cellaring. Only 800 bottles produced. Rated by La Revue du Vin de France magazine as one of the top wines of Vouvray in 2011.
'This cuvée is made entirely from handpicked botrytised grapes, which in this remarkable vintage (which saw a pre-harvest heatwave) means an unprecedented residual sugar of 300 g/l and an alcohol concentration of just 9%, the yeasts clearly having waved the white flag at this stage. It has an amazing colour, a golden burnished bronze. The aromatics feel slightly volatile, evidence of intense botrytisation, with scents of dried figs, dried apricot and orange, with black tea leaf and cigar box. The palate is truly intense, well into the liquoreux style, with an intense, eye-popping level of sweetness and a palate-dominating texture and grip. It has the acidity to match, nevertheless this is still a challenge to drink right now. I suspect if I come back to it on my hundredth birthday it may be a little more approachable, although I am not betting on it. A wine for your grandchildren. Or maybe their grandchildren.' 95 points, Chris Kissack, Wine Doctor, October 2020.
'Less well known than Huet or Clos Naudin, the Pichots merit as much praise.' Le Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France, La Revue de Vins de France.
The Pichot family is one of the oldest in Vouvray with origins as restaurateurs going back to 1739 later followed by the purchase of the superb Coteau de la Biche vineyards in 1770 establishing them as growers to help supply the restaurant. Their vineyard holdings are mostly located all at the top of the village with the largest holding which makes up their classic Coteau de la Biche in the prime Vallee de Nouys which is perfectly sited for making drier styles of wine and faces south-east. The Pichot family also own most of the “premiere coteau” site of Le Marigny located just above the village opposite Clos du Bourg. These are quite simply regarded as being amongst the very best vineyard sites of the appellation.
All vineyards are farmed organically with grasses grown between the rows to reduce the uptake of moisture and vigour to the vines. The average age of vines is high with the Clos Cartaud vines around 75 years old. While Vouvray as a whole produces about 40% sparkling wines and 60% still wines at Domaine Pichot more than 85% are still wines made into sec, demi-sec or moelleux and less than 15% being made as sparkling wines. The style of the wines here is among the driest of the appellation for each style with sec typically being from 3-7 gms/litre residual and demi-sec from 13-17 gms/litre with moelleux most often around 60 gms/litre. Harvesting is mostly done by hand and yields are kept low at an average 25 hl/ha.
One of the first domaines of Vouvray to export to the U.S.A. Domaine Pichot are perhaps better known in export markets than at home in France as Christophe spends most of his time ‘hands-on’ in the vineyards and winery and being such a small producer he is very focused for each step of production. Domaine Pichot are very well known for the brilliant quality of the stunning sweet wines, although their dry and demi-sec wines are also superb. Right across the range these are remarkable wines that will age effortlessly for decades (as vintages back to 1950’s very generously shared from the family cellar have demonstrated) and will also provide great satisfaction from a young age.