The Pichot family is one of the oldest in Vouvray and can trace its members (mostly restauranteurs and viticulturists) back as far as 1739. The family estate is located inside the city limits of the town of Vouvray, and both the cellars as well as part of the family home are located in caves hewn from the rocky hillsides.
The domaine combines two sets of properties "Coteau de la Biche," owned and managed at one time by the family patriarch Jean-Claude, and "Peu de la Moriette" owned and operated by his son, Christophe, who has recently taken over management of his father's parcel as well. Most of the domaine's wines are actually bottled under two separate labels, bearing each of these names, as well as a joint label.
On its steep hillside vineyards, the family grows only the Chenin Blanc for which the appellation is famous, and they are one of the few individual family producers in the region which is increasingly dominated by negociant bottlers who purchase grapes from various properties. The age of the vines on the property vary from 20 to 55 years, and they apparently keep yields down to a ridiculously low level.
The family produces several classic dry Vouvrays, as well as this demi-sec wine known as Moelleux, which literally translates to "mellow." This term is often used to refer to describe wines that are semi-sweet, but don't reach the sugar levels normally associated with full dessert wines.
To make their Moelleux, they allow some of their grapes to become botrytized, or infected with Noble Rot, a process which concentrates the sugar in the grapes (most famously used to produce Sauternes).
This wine is a light yellow gold in the glass and has a wonderfully different bouquet of aromas, which include old parchment, banana, flint, and some tropical fruits that are hard to pin down. In the mouth it is sweet yet balanced nicely with some acidity, and shows primary flavors of pineapple, quince, and fresh rainwater that fade into a nice finish.
While technically this wine could make an excellent aperitif wine or something to sip on its own, I chose to serve it at a wine dinner with a dessert of caramelized pineapple cake, and panna cotta topped with pineapple granita.
Overall Score: 9
How much?: $22
This wine can be purchased easily online.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
What's Holding Wine Back in America Vinography Images: From the Fog The World's First Wine Bar Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 31, 2015 Vinography Images: Sky Drama Secrets of the World's Best Wine Lists Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 24, 2015 Vinography Images: The Happy Canyon Drinking Time Itself: The Champagnes of Anselme Selosse The Great Prosecco Crisis of 2015
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune