Anjou, Loire Valley
Jo Pithon started his famed domaine in 1978. His parents were winemakers in Anjou, and Jo has done as much as anyone to lift the appellation, and the Loire Valley as whole, onto the world stage. His focus on dry whites, now commonplace, was very innovative in the last two decades of the 20th century. He was also at the forefront of organic farming, the use of indigenous yeasts and the rejection of sugar and acid additions. Pithon works with a small handful of biodynamic growers – just one farmer for Grololo and another for the Mozaik Blanc – to create some of the freshest and most soulful wines in France. As he nears retirement, Jo has brought on the youthful and talented Adrien Moreau to help make the wines. Adrien is a rising star in the Loire Valley, and under the tutelage of a true master, he is bound for even more excellence.
Vin de France
Despite being Pithon’s entry level offering, the Grololo is by far his most popular and is allocated throughout the world. Slightly carbonic, the wine is fresh and vibrant and should be served at cellar temperature, if not slightly below.
Mozaik brings together the two great terroirs of Anjou: dark schist and bright limestone. From the region of Montreuil Bellay, the Chenin Blanc is also farmed biodynamically. Fermentation takes place is large, old wooden casks, where the wine ages for about a year before being released. There is a purity to the wine that will appeal to lovers of low-intervention offerings from the Loire Valley, and a real sense of terroir shines through. Peaches and apples are joined by notes of honeysuckle and chalky minerality. This is a very different expression than Baumard’s Savennieres, but a fitting and worthy companion in the portfolio.
Cremant de Loire
This sparkling, biodynamic Chenin Blanc comes from the Saumurois Appellation, which is characterized by chalky tuffeau and sits just southeast of the town of Puy Notre Dame. The base wine is fermented with indigenous yeast, and is aged for a year in second and third pass Burgundy barrels. It’s aged on the lees for another year, and no dosage is added. The wine displays a complex bouquet of ripe stone fruit, white flowers and dried fruit. There is just a hint of fresh baked bread, coming from the autolytics. This crémant is a standout by any measure, and a phenomenal value in the world of sparkling wine.
The grapes come from the lieu-dit of La Frenaye, in the heart of Anjou’s black schists, lies on a vein of Paleozoic Devonian limestone on the southern bank of the Layon.