Silex Noir at Pinon

Photos by: 
Juliette Pope

Notes from France!

Dashing in the cold rain down the lane of Pinon’s home village of Vallée de Cousse in Vouvray from the house, we were happy to duck into the hole in the hill: the cave dug out of the tuffeau (soft white limestone.

One of the tunnels showed clearly the seam of silex noir, or black flint, that is 100 million years old and is unique in the world except for a bit of it in a corner of Champagne. It very much informs the flavor and structure of the bottling named for it, its smokiness and firmness combining to beautiful effect with the tuffeau in the wines.

I have known and adored François forever, it seems, but had not been to Pinon in 12 years, nor had I seen him in an apron before (of “Japanese coupe” he pointed); then again, he is headed into retirement now...

He needed it more serving us up soup and rillons than for pouring us this incredible 1988 brut that spent 23 years on the lees...but he wore it well...

Oh and I’m not getting thinner this week with cheese twice a day. But when someone puts 2.5-yr-old Comte and so on in front of me, what am I supposed to do?

We have been taken such good care of at every home and winery. This was just one of many terrific experiences.