François Pinon Silex Noir Vouvray 2015
Please Note: This wine is only available for purchase by the case. Selecting a quantity of 1 will charge for 12 bottles.
Winegrower: Domaine François Pinon
Region: Vouvray AOC, (Loire) France
Grape: Chenin blanc
Use Code: silexnoir10 at checkout
PERHAPS you have not yet been bitten by the Chenin blanc bug and transported to a world of luminous wines made in an astounding range of styles. If so, then opportunity is about to pull the cork for you.
It's no secret that we at Cellar Direct are big fans of the Loire Valley and the astounding range of expressions its varied terroir gives Chenin blanc. Within the lower Loire where Chenin is king, geology varies more than climate: granites, schists, quartzites, sandstones and ancient, weathered limestones alternate along the valleys and divides of its eleven principal appellations. The chalk hills of the Paris Basin that dominate Touraine and Saumur unevenly give way to the weathered "old rock" of western Anjou and the Pays Nantais, called the Massif Amoricain. Such geologic multiplicity offers the intriguing possibility of tasting how the soil composition of each region influences the final expression of a single grape variety. This leads us to the Cretaceous chalk of Vouvray which gives François Pinon's wines a shimmering ripeness of fruit that feels almost haunting alongside their bracing acidity.
Galileo purportedly said that "wine is light captured in water," and I like to think he was referring to Chenin blanc. Drinking it is a deeply pleasurable study in sensory contradictions - it is a grape that offers structure alongside freshness, textural density amidst soaring acidity, luminous fruit rooted in deep minerality - and its evolution in the glass is unfailingly generous. As our daylight hours gradually lengthen, Chenin's luminous iterations may just be the perfect harbinger of spring.
François Pinon, bearded, bespectacled and with a warm voice, comes across as a friendly, elderly academic. He has a medical background and had a successful career as a psychoanalyst and professor before returning to his roots to take over the family estate in 1987. François is one of the best winegrowers in Vouvray, the spiritual home of Chenin blanc and where it reaches its apogee, producing some of the finest and most long-lived white wines in the world. His vineyards, which are in the Loire Valley just east of the city of Tours in Northwest France, have been in his family since 1786 – fifteen generations!
François is a traditionalist. His guiding philosophy is simple: “add nothing and take nothing away from the grape’s potential.” But this entails extraordinary efforts in the vineyards; he works his 15 hectares by hand to strict organic standards. Yields are minimized through green pruning and ground cover grows between his vines.
François’ Silex Noir 2015 is from an outstanding vintage; it is a beautiful wine, clearly among the very best of the appellation. The wine comes from 40 year old vines. The 3.7 hectares of vineyards composed of clay over limestone with black flint gives the wine its unique mineral character and complex, open aromas. François uses only wild yeasts for fermentation believing it’s impossible to taste terroir if you use the commercial varieties (we agree). He also avoids sulfur because he thinks the high acidity of his wines acts like a natural preservative. This wine was fermented over 3 months. It was then aged on its fine lees in large, old wood barrels for another 4 to 5 months before it was lightly filtered and bottled in May 2016.
The Silex Noir 2015 is superbly balanced at 12.5% alcohol and 20 grams of residual sugar backstopped by firm acidity. The wine displays lovely citrus, dried pear, licorice and floral aromas with a full-bodied palate of minerals and white fruits with a long, refreshing finish. Though delicious now, this is a young wine that will benefit from decanting. Or better yet aging; perhaps best from 2025 to 2035 and with a potential life of 30 years, that is if you haven’t enjoyed your last bottle well before then!
This is one of the most food friendly wines available. Perfect when served at 10˚ to 12˚. Pull the cork an hour or so before, then enjoy with asparagus, fried foods, gravlax, steamed clams, sushi, and poultry, seafood and veal in cream sauces.