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Keep it simple (Chablis, France – Day Two)

If anyone has played competitive team sport in their life they may have heard of the KIS principle, which stand for Keep It Simple. Looking back on my trip I am finding it fascinating that many of the wineries and regions that I most connected with have this same principle in mind. Even more interesting is that this connection was regardless of red or white wine, but applied to philosophies and practices as well as style. The clarity purity and minerality of the rieslings I tasted in Germany blew me away, as did the gruner veltliners in Austria. Some of the best wines I tasted in Spain were those that were straightforward and approachable, such as the albarinos in Rias Baixas and the verdejos in Rueda. In terms of French wine, the simple white wines of the Loire Valley and Chablis have a special place in my heart, as the minimal intervention they make in the wineries means it is purely the expression of the variety in their particular terroir. In fact there are a number of similarities in terms of climate and soil composition between Sancerre, Pouilly and Chablis, but the latter chooses to express through chardonnay rather than sauvignon blanc. The minerality of these regions is legendary, but I am starting to see there are some different expressions that still follow the KIS principle.

Some of the characters of Chablis

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Domaine Pinson – 4/12/2012

Chablis 2011
Lovely and bright, juicy citrus and apple notes, some apple blossom and lemon rind to round things out, a little smoky and a little creamy. Quite full and expressive on the palate, rounds out on the mid-palate before focusing on the back and finishing cleanly with minerality and finesse. Good character and expression, not thin or hollow.

Cuvee Mademoiselle 2011 Chablis
Noticeable but still subtle difference with the barrel fermentation, delicate complex nutty aromas over the slightly riper more concentrated fruit aromas. Denser fuller and more textured on the front and middle palates, but still a nice clean finish with finesse. A little bit too strong on oak for the moment, will benefit with some time.

Montmain 2010 Premier Cru
Riper and more concentrated nose, brighter stronger, richer fruits, less citrus more stone fruit. Denser and more concentrated on the palate, much more complex and a lot going on, I like the spontaneous ferment influence going on, very intense and more interesting structure. Excellent balance between fruit, acid, minerality, barrel and some other complex components.

Vaillons 2010 Premier Cru
Denser and a little darker, much more savoury notes on the nose, a little hard to pinpoint but strangely reminds me of pasta sauce(!). A little creamy and vanilla. Fuller and more expressive, showing a bit more warmth, very powerful but still elegant and restrained, complex with quite a bit of savoury notes. Extreme minerality.

Mont-de Milieu 2010 Premier Cru
Extremely closed aromatically, showing almost nothing on the nose, closed or bottle open too long? Needs more time in bottle? Certainly full on the palate, very little on the front, kicks in on the mid and explodes on the back-palate. Dense and with warm creaminess, a touch aggressive for the moment, interesting to taste in a few more years to see how and if it evolves.

Les Clos 2010 Grand Cru
SO classically Chablis, pure minerality, lifted florals, bright yet complex fruit. The promise of riches if aged well. Concentrated and complex. Generous rich soft, creamy texture, opulent broad yet focused minerality and acidity, rolls across the palate, delicate long finish. Wonderful graduation backwards.
Domaine Pinson

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