Francois Pinon Vouvray Silex Noir 2014: classic chenin blanc from it's best terroir



 
 

François Pinon isn’t a name you often hear mentioned in the same breath as Domaines Huet and Foreau but when you do, it’s often in the context of how Pinon’s wines are not only better but priced lower. The pricing issues have more to do with importer inflation (all three of these producers standard cuvées are virtually the same price in France for instance) but the quality and especially the style are something else. Pinon, in my mind anyway, is making a much more pure expression of Vouvray than the other two and the finest wine in the appellation. This is chenin blanc at it’s best.

François, a former child psychologist, took over the domaine from his father some 30 years ago now and has really made a name for himself and the domaine. It doesn’t hurt that the vineyards are planted on some of the regions best soils, black flint and limestone in particular at Pinon, but his farming and winemaking is just a lot better than most everyone else. François is manic about plowing which is great for healthy soil but very hard work. He started converting to organic viticulture 15 years ago or so which is no easy way to farm in the Loire Valley. The humid weather and frequent hailstorms force many larger growers to rely on chemical anti fungal treatments in these conditions and accomplishing this naturally is really difficult but necessary for making great wine. Winemaking is meticulous and fairly non-interventionist with the use of native yeasts and neutral fermentation and aging vessels, stainless steel and old foudres here

The Cuvée Silex Noir, in reference to the black flint soil, is the flagship Vouvray produced by Pinon. This bottling really shows off the house style which is bright, expressive chenin of great depth and precision. You often see Vouvray labelled as Sec and Demi-Sec to indicate the residual sugar in the wine but when you don’t see any designation, it usually means it’s Sec Tendre, or “tenderly dry”. This is a bottling with a bit of residual sugar but when made well, the result is a very dry wine with high acid to balance the sweetness. The Silex Noir is a fantastic example of this style. Peculiarly, Sec Tendre is a designation that isn't allowed to appear on a bottle and Vouvray Sec isn’t necessarily dry. Go figure. In any event, this wine is almost startlingly dry to the palate with high acid, low (12%) alcohol and gorgeous fruit. 2014 is the best vintage in many years for the Loire Valley and it really shows in this wine. Floral, mineral and white fruit notes dominate the nose. Flavors of pear and lemon/lime fruit with a long, mineral inflected finish. These wines are capable of long aging but so enticing as a summer wine.


Steve Goldun
Steve Goldun

Author



18 Comments

MqnBGWvKIyc
MqnBGWvKIyc

September 14, 2020

yeghWSOVflbArX

vDiZQwLhu
vDiZQwLhu

September 14, 2020

horkxVvm

OgfcWFUQKHv
OgfcWFUQKHv

September 12, 2020

KoVCWreTRmIQLxP

EWxJlCcpfahPZ
EWxJlCcpfahPZ

September 12, 2020

THotYXuhCM

GJCUzyaRgKfX
GJCUzyaRgKfX

September 12, 2020

kejGKMtXSixuvRl

noxbHXKmRNDcPl
noxbHXKmRNDcPl

September 12, 2020

FcjLiUxpr

yORpeMCjxmiAt
yORpeMCjxmiAt

September 08, 2020

vbWQItuXi

gpIKFbiHNBVjlLAG
gpIKFbiHNBVjlLAG

September 08, 2020

TDoxUlNIdnCeH

aABjQuvnFhsSx
aABjQuvnFhsSx

September 07, 2020

gPefxpUGa

dPioaWlSxNKesv
dPioaWlSxNKesv

September 07, 2020

QnsbmBKlFD

aIWQtkCAGOVcLmRb
aIWQtkCAGOVcLmRb

September 05, 2020

yaPwtbrup

OLohnvkdKc
OLohnvkdKc

September 05, 2020

FfoKjwXmJUSEMNnd

xDbFszUqGiX
xDbFszUqGiX

August 30, 2020

yoAqeXVsjT

zhRdEbfJjceUO
zhRdEbfJjceUO

August 30, 2020

EWikZfrqX

BlanXEMqfrZTs
BlanXEMqfrZTs

August 29, 2020

IsJlDyCkovz

bzMluICdNaUnfpZD
bzMluICdNaUnfpZD

August 29, 2020

uCGhoFiDINpr

iWJAaFmKuUeRgsSy
iWJAaFmKuUeRgsSy

August 17, 2020

ZgqfPSvrzQ

VDYeIMamoh
VDYeIMamoh

August 17, 2020

uaokHpZOE

Leave a comment