Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

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G. Shields
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Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#1 Post by G. Shields » December 7th, 2018, 7:06 am

Reaching out to the Chenin experts here on the board as was recently left quite perplexed by two bottles of the 2013 Pithon-Paillé
'Pierrebise' Anjou.

I felt pretty sure that the first bottle was premoxed, but somehow the wine still had some redeeming features. However, when my second bottle was pretty similar, if perhaps a bit more drinkable I started to have doubts that maybe this is what the wine is meant to be like?

If anyone here has drunk these or related wines and can decifer from the picture and my notes whether this matches their experiences, would be pleased to hear back.
IMG_2440.jpg
Note from the wine in the photo:
  • 2013 Pithon-Paillé Anjou Pierrebise - France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Anjou (03/11/2018)
    Seems to have held up better than the last bottle, but still seems advanced or an oxidative style. Hay and bruised apple on nose, some caramel and oak too. Creamy, yet acid driven palate, with sweet apple and nutty notes on finish. Oxidative, has a fino-sherry like quality.
And from the first bottle...
  • 2013 Pithon-Paillé Anjou Pierrebise - France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Anjou (07/12/2018)
    Oh dear! On pouring my 5 year old says: what’s that wine? It’s the same colour as my apple juice! And indeed it is! Shy nose, bruised apple, a yeasty touch, some dried hay but on the palate it is rather nutty with notes of sherry and an oxidative finish. But funnily enough it is not unpleasant and inherently drinkable but I fear not what this wine is supposed to taste like. I have one more and need to pop soon to see if also shot or not...
I still have a 2 bottles of the 2013 'Coteau des Treilles' and am trying to manage expectations and/or need to drink up!
Gawain

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Markus S
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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#2 Post by Markus S » December 7th, 2018, 7:28 am

I'm not familiar with this wine, but yeah, chenin can have this color at 5 years of age depending on how it is made, but this does look overly advanced to me. I've had some chenins made in a way that resembles oxidative techniques though (Savennierres calls to mind), so you never know unless you know the intent of the winemaker.
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G. Shields
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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#3 Post by G. Shields » December 7th, 2018, 7:50 am

Thanks Marcus, likewise i also don't have much experience with Savenierres and so hoping othres can shed some light...
Gawain

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GregT
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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#4 Post by GregT » December 7th, 2018, 8:10 am

Sorry, don't know that bottle but I've found that Chenin Blanc sometimes tends to take on a rather oxidized quality. Don't know if it's actual oxidation, if that's a characteristic of the grape, or if it's just the way it ages, but I pretty much expect it with a wine that has a few years on it. And I've been told that the oxidative character is not objectionable to some wine makers. I've noted it in Savennieres, not so much from South African examples. Your bottle does seem a bit advanced though.

It's an interesting question though and I'd love to know more about the chemistry of that grape, which I think is vastly underrated.
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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#5 Post by David Cooper » December 7th, 2018, 8:37 am

I have drank a lot of Loire Chenin in the past. Like White Rioja a bit of ox really makes the wine more complex. It sounds and looks like your Anjou is probably flawed. The oxidation should be a garnish not the main ingredient, and a 2013 should be more about fresh apple then bruised apple.

This is a question that is actually hard to answer when the wine is in front of you, so a bit of indecision is common. It's been said that sulfur disguises the notes of oxidation, strike a match and then smell the wine. That sounds crazy though.

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Robert Love
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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#6 Post by Robert Love » December 7th, 2018, 9:06 am

Your tasting note definitely suggests oxidation, but also some Loire particularly Savennières has botrytis, even if dry, which would contribute to that color and also a weightier texture that could come across as oxidation.

In general, without knowing that producer, it is hard to say: Loire Chenin blanc can be one or more of oxidative, botrytis infected, or show mild skin contact. And Chenin blanc ages weirdly.

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Seth M. Long
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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#7 Post by Seth M. Long » December 7th, 2018, 9:55 am

I think it is fair to say that Pithon-Paillé's wines are made intentionally with low SO2, native yeasts, etc. I wonder if it is just another natural white wine showing what happens when you choose to forgo protective measures like adequate sulfur?
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Otto Forsberg
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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#8 Post by Otto Forsberg » December 7th, 2018, 1:05 pm

I've had Pierrebise 2012 earlier this year and it certainly came across somewhat nutty and oxidative in style with golden yellow color, but definitely not oxidized - instead relatively youthful in style. In a tasting of dry Chenin Blancs it really didn't seem excessively oxidative but quite similar to many of the Savennieres wines, some of which actually showed even a bit more oxidative character.

Not being there tasting your wines, it's pretty hard to assess how oxidative / oxidized they were, but this wine definitely is from the oxidative end of spectrum. And as others have pointed out above, that's nothing new when it comes to dry Chenins.

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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#9 Post by Jayson Cohen » December 7th, 2018, 5:40 pm

Assuming this wine, which looks an unhealthy brown to me rather a more healthy orange glow that Chenin sometimes gets, is made purposefully in an oxidative style, i wonder why. I personally don’t think Chenin shines in this style.

Closel, for example, went oxidative after making profound wines in a non-oxidative style for years and then reversed course back to the non-oxidative style. The wines during the domaine’s oxidative phase pretty much sucked and didn’t develop well.

When oxidative becomes an end goal, I bow out. When folks start to think of oxidative as expressive of terroir and get all high and mighty about it, I roll my eyes. But some people like this style of wine.

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Jim Brennan
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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#10 Post by Jim Brennan » December 7th, 2018, 6:00 pm

Sounds oxidized. Always hard to know, as some top Chenins go through a phase, but with an unknown producer I'd guess this is truly oxed.

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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#11 Post by Julian Marshall » December 8th, 2018, 9:07 am

I'm not a fan of Pithon's wines - they often taste as you describe them. From the photo, the wine looks very similar to those I've tried and disliked in the past: whether or not the oxidative style is on purpose or an accident, they still taste horrible IMHO.

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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#12 Post by Doug Schulman » December 8th, 2018, 9:23 am

Well, it looks and sounds "natural". I'm guessing it's simply oxidation, not premox.
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GregT
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Re: Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#13 Post by GregT » December 8th, 2018, 10:34 am

Doug Schulman wrote:
December 8th, 2018, 9:23 am
Well, it looks and sounds "natural". I'm guessing it's simply oxidation, not premox.
Yep. Just the regular version.

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Chenin experts - is this wine premoxed or not?

#14 Post by G. Shields » December 10th, 2018, 6:55 am

Many thanks to all for your thoughts and input, appreciated. I fully understand that it is very difficult to definitively say one way or the other if this is premox or plain-vanilla deliberate ox just from the tasting note and the picture: seems like there is a high chance of both going on here!

However, what i did learn is that Chenin has an interesting and perhaps atypical ageing curve and that an oxidative style is a feature for some producers and appelations.

In any case, i will not be holding out long to drink the 'Coteau de Treilles' and we'll see what that brings...
Gawain

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