Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Tasting with Alain Pabiot (Jean Pabiot et Fils)@2012 Salon des Vins de Loire

Alain Pabiot of Jean Pabiot et Fils (Domaine des Fines Caillottes, Pouilly-Fumé)

With each succeeding Salon des Vins de Loire I find it increasingly difficult to get to visit and taste with all of the producers I would like. 2012 was my 23rd successive year, so there are now many producers that I know who I should see but also I need to try to make new discoveries.

Having enjoyed several bottles of the Jean Pabiot Prestige Les Fines Caillottes over the last couple of years – the most recent was the 2009, which is stocked by Majestic Wine – I made sure that I went to see Alain Pabiot during the Salon.

Jean Pabiot@the entrance to Les Loges, a small village just north of Pouilly-sur-Loire
that nestles below the vines. The road to the right rises up steep to the vineyards

Domaine des Fines Caillottes – Jean Pabiot et Fils dates back to the end of the 19th century when Louis Pabiot, Alain's great grandfather, cultivated some 2.2 hectares of vines at Les Loges. The area under vine gradually increased as Gaston (Alain's grandfather) took over and was in turn succeeded by Jean and then by his son Alain, who started in 1978. By that time there were 7 hectares of vines. Alain – joined in 2004 by his son Jérôme – has expanded that to the present 28 hectares. The Pabiots have 30 parcels spread across five communes – Pouilly-sur-Loire, Tracy-sur-Loire, Saint-Andelain, Saint-Laurent-l'Abbaye and Villiers.

We started with the grapefruit and citric 2010 La Merisière, Sancerre – the Pabiots have no vines there but buy in grapes from growers in Chavignol and Verdigny from vines planted on both the caillottes and on silex (flint). Then the 2011 that seems to have less weight but greater minerality than the 2010, which is rather the reverse of the general trend but it may well take on more weight over the next few months. Also the amount of carbon dioxide in all these wine may make them appear leaner than they actually are.

Alain Pabiot

Then on to the Pouilly-Fumés. The 2010 Fines Caillottes has an attractive mineral character with weight and texture, is slightly saline with good length, while the 2011 tank sample appeared to be leaner. Next the 2009 Prestige des Fines Caillottes, which I have already previously enjoyed. The Prestige comes from older vines planted on a range of soils – clay-limestone, marnes with small oyster fossils and caillottes (limestone). It is only made in the best vintages. The 2009 is slightly smoky with good concentration, mouth feel with a touch of butter.

2008 Cuvée Séduction, Pouilly-Fumé

We finish with the 2008 Cuvée Séduction, which is fermented in wood – a mix of 228 litre barriques and 600 litre demi-muids. The wine spends a year on its lees before being moved to vat to spend further time before being bottled in 2010. Séduction has an explosive buttery nose plus a touch of vanilla with rich length and considerable ageing potential.

Alain Pabiot

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