Thomas Pico is the man behind our newest Chablis in store here at Regional Wines. His wine brand is Pattes Loup, which means wolf's paws and is the name of the land his grandfather gave him, only he has changed the course of his father's winegrowing legacy by turning his into organically certified vineyards.
Pico is based in the village of Courgis in Burgundy's northernmost outpost. Inspired by a grape growing grandfather who told Pico "Not to make the same mistakes that I did", he stopped spraying his vines with herbicides when he returned to Courgis in 2004 after several years working in Nuits St George.
First he stopped spraying herbicides, then he began to transition to organic certification and encouraged his father to do likewise.
Pico is now 38 years old and grew up with his winemaking father and grandfather so he is no stranger to winemaking, but his approach has changed the family's winemaking philosophy. While he does not label his wines 'natural', he is intent on making them without the use of herbicides and other introduced chemicals and therefore he ticks the box of what actually constitutes natural production where it really matters - on the soils and in the ground where wine production originates; in the vineyard. Speaking of his vines, he now farms 24 hectares of them and we were lucky enough to taste the first of them to arrive in New Zealand, earlier this month, with their new importer, Stephanie Reade from Mineral. The 'we' in question being store manager Matt King and yours truly (wine adviser Joelle Thomson).
It's hard not to be wowed by such impressive concentration and richness in these outstanding Chardonnays from Chablis. These wines are beautifully balanced by refreshing acidity, which works in tandem with the smooth texture in these dry whites, adding what the French would aptly call that je ne sais quoi.
Pop in to buy these outstanding new Chablis...
2016 Domaine Pattes Loup Chablis Butteaux Premier Cru $122.99
This is Chardonnay with the X factor and was my favourite of the tasting from Pattes Loup. Rich and concentrated but crisp and balanced. Lemon zest and creamy texture on speed. A conversation starter for now and the long haul. This is a wine that makes me fall in love with Chardonnay all over again.
2017 Domaine Pattes Loup Chablis Bearegard Premier Cru $115.99
This Chablis is one of the best we have tasted all year, an impressive wine now and for the long term. Highly perfumed, intense from the first whiff to the last lingering sip. Full bodied, rich, dry and creamy.