Domaine François Pinon

François Pinon took over the family winery from his father in 1987 and has turned this small 15-hectare estate in the wine-growing hamlet of the Vallée de Cousse into one of the top in Vouvray over the last 30 years. His ongoing mission is to express the terroir and the vintage of Vouvray as purely as possible. To that end, Pinon and his son Julien work organically (certified since the 2011 vintage). They plow the soils; use minimal treatments, which are never chemical; harvest by hand; use only indigenous yeasts for fermentation, which takes place in old wood casks; age wines in a mix of stainless steel and used barrels on the fine lees for a year; and use minimal sulfur (opting to lightly filter the wines for stability instead).

Increasingly over time, François and Julien have honed in on highlighting their two main terroirs: rocky flint (silex) soils on the slopes and clay-based soils in their flatter sites. Both soil types are on top of a chalky limestone base, the classic Vouvray tuffeau, about 1.5 meters below the surface. Scattered in a number of different parcels, their vines average 25-30 years old and are re-planted as needed exclusively with massale selections rather than nursery clones. But all of these years later, the total planting remains the same size as François’s father’s before him; rather than grow the size of the operation, the current father-son team remain intent upon doing the very best work possible in their original historic family property.