Lots of good wine tasting opportunities this past weekend. We opted to pop in and see Pithon-Paillé with clients yesterday. Jo and Isabelle Pithon were manning the ship while Wendy and Joseph Paillé were down the road at the Anges Vins tasting.
Jo Pithon pouring samples and chatting to customers
Most producers hold open days at this time of year so it's a good opportunity to call in and taste the wines and maybe purchase a few bottles for the up and coming Christmas festivities.
Jo Pithon was on good form pouring samples and chatting to customers and the wines were tasting excellent, especially the Chenins. I loved the Belargus Coteaux du Layon - floral and honeyed with hints of citrus marmalade and with a fabulous stream of mouth watering acidity that hides the 200g of residual sugar. It has real class and is a tip top example of getting the sugar/acid balance just right.
The Quart de Chaume is excellent too but softer on the palate, a little more gentle with lower perceived acidity so although it also has 200g of residual, it seems sweeter. One of our clients asked Jo why it was not priced at a higher point than the Belargus bearing in mind its recent promotion to Grand Cru status. 'Because it's not better than the Belargus - they are of the same quality' he replied. What a great answer and an honest one - let the wines speak for themselves.
I also liked their Crémant de Loire which was on show for the first time. The 2009 base wine underwent a slow fermentation and was aged for a year before being mixed with unfermented grape juice from 2010 promoting the second fermentation. Jo explained that he was keen to make a sparkler but one that had the Pithon-Paillé identity and this certainly has it. Aromas of stewed apple and great minerality give it real complexity on the nose. If you like the slightly evolved style of Chenin then this is one for you.
Finally, anyone who has the guts to market a wine like this Grololo deserves to have success. A jeu de mots (play on words) - it refers to the grape variety from which it's made. Groslot (or Grolleau) is a work horse variety that is widely planted in Anjou, mostly for the production of rosé wines. A wine for friends and family this is not to be taken too seriously as indeed it is not. Full of juicy fruit, slightly peppery on the nose and with light tannins it's what we call a 'vin de soif' and was formerly their wine served at family meals during harvest time.
The term Grololo is a used to describe 'big breasts' hence the label. Jo Pithon laughs out loud as he explains its meaning to us and while there may be the odd one amongst you who may feel this is a little inappropriate I'm afraid everyone around him laughed along too.