The wines of François and Julien Pinon are considered among the finest of Vouvray. François, a former child psychologist, took over the estate from his father in 1987, and has steadily made a name for the estate. He is a serious winemaker whose main focus is “to keep the typicity of both the appellation and the vintage” in all his wines. Julien’s arrival has cemented the family’s dedication to organic viticulture and minimal intervention winemaking.
The vineyards are in the corniche of the Vallee de Cousse. The soil is clay and silica on a base of limestone with flint and the area is rated among the top sites in the appellation for Vouvrays of distinction and long life. The Pinon follow a discipline of plowing the vineyards, not using chemical fertilizers and pesticides and, of course, harvesting by hand and not using cultured yeasts in the cellar. All new plantings are done by selection massale and no nursery clones are used; the vines are an average of 25 years old. The estate has been certified organic since 2011.
The alcoholic fermentation occurs in wood barrels. Then the wines are aged in stainless steel or foudres to obtain a balance between fruit and reduction. There is one racking to remove the heavy lees and the wine remains on its fine lees until bottling, which takes place a full year after the harvest to “finish” the wine. Rather than use a large dose of SO2, Pinon prefers to gently filter his wines to ensure their stability and aging potential.
“Silex Noir” is named for the black flint soils characteristic of two parcesl totalling 3.7 hecates. Just like limestone, flint is left by ancient seabeds. Millions of shells and other organisms make up deep layers of limestone (or chalk), while more complicated chemical interactions between silica and organisms such as sponges created nodules of hard flint, which embedded itself into the limestone.