CHÂTEAU PIERRE-BISE, Beaulieu sur Layon
Claude Papin took over his wife’s family property in 1990 and has since become a Loire icon. Andrew Jefford calls him a “poet of Chenin Blanc”, and Jancis Robinson MW “one of the most talented wine growers in this part of the world “.
His approach to Chenin could be summed up in his own words: “The Chenin is made by botrytization. If there isn’t any, it always makes hard wine. Even my dry wines are made with about 50% botrytization. This translates in the wine as honeyed notes.”
He now controls about 32 hectares, and his Chenin Blancs from Savennières, Quart de Chaume and Côteaux de Layon are textbook examples of why this grape is among the world’s greatest when produced from the terroir for which it is perfectly suited.
La Revue du Vin de France gives this winery two stars making it one of only three in the region to attain such status.
‘Most French regions have a philosopher-king in their midst; a grower who not only tends to his vines with great solicitude and vinifies his fruit with skill, but who asks the deep questions which others forget to pose, and who then teases out answers which will, sooner or later, lift the game for all.
Claude Papin performs this role for the central zone of the Loire – and not coincidentally overdelivers in all three on Anjou’s wine styles: red wines (from Anjou-Villages), dry whites (a range from different sites in both Savennières and Anjou-Villages) and sweet wines (from Coteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaume). The range is large and complex, and Papin goes to extraordinary lengths to give voice to every nuance of which they are capable.
But whatever the appelation and price point, this magnificent domaine will leave you with an intimate understanding of Anjou’s extraordinary intricacy and richness.’
Decanter February 2012 ‘Top 10 French Estate for value’
The nose of the Quart de Chaume is light and aromatic, full of honey and wild flowers, although still restrained and well-judged. Broad, concentrated and impressive on the palate, the sweetness nicely counterbalanced by the mineral character. Quite fat and dense. It has a lovely floral, orange peel edge to it too.