Claude and Joëlle Papin, Château Pierre-Bise  (1992)  

Château Pierre-Bise, meaning ‘stone and wind’, sits towering above its own hamlet on a high ridge above the Layon. The property, which dates back to the 16th century, was purchased in 1959 by Pierre Papin, the son of a boulanger. With it came nine hectares of vines, situated around the village of Beaulieu-sur-Layon. Claude took over from his father in 1974 and by 1978 the domaine had grown significantly, although thirty hectares had come through Claude’s marriage to Joëlle Chevalier in 1972. In 1992, Papin crossed the Loire to rent the nine hectare Clos de Coulaine from the retiring François Roussier, and further increased his interests here in 2004, leasing vineyards around the Moulin de Beaupréau (2.5ha of vines planted in 1995) and in La Roche aux Moines. The Papins, who now work a total of 55 hectares (of which seven are in the Savennières appellation) are aided by their two sons, René who works in the cellar and Christophe who tends the vines.

Wine Overview:  
Claude Papin now produces three different expressions of Savennières: one each from of the various sites they work, plus a single Anjou Villages produced from the five hectares of Cabernet Franc at Clos de Coulaine. The white wines are raised in a combination of stainless steel, subterranean tanks and 400 litre barrels. Only indigenous yeasts are used, and the malolactic is dependent on the conditions of the vintage. Bottling takes place at the end of the following year. The Anjou Villages is raised in tank.

The Wines:  
The Papins remain one of the reference points within the order of Layon growers, and can justifiably be considered as one of the leading producers in Savennières too. Claude Papin has a deep understanding of the three sites he works here, with each of the resulting wines displaying the characteristics one would expect based on their individual and very different terroirs. The wines are clean and modern but have a wide drinking window which ensures they are accessible in their youth yet capable of gaining complexity as they age, a trait that should define any fine wine.  

2008 Clos de Grand Beaupréau
Barrel fermented and aged, with malo-lactic happening this vintage. 25hl/ha. Very clean nose and palate. Restrained with a saline edge. Delicate and complex. Understated and very much in the Papin style. Gentle but persistent finish. Already soft and approachable, but has the potential to evolve over a few more years. (02/10)

2006 Clos de Coulaine  
Mid depth yellow/gold. Broad but quiet nose with a rich, faintly oxidative style. Delicate and restrained on entry. Well textured with good structure and length. Retains very good minerality alongside a peach and apricot flavour profile. The alcohol just shows a little. This is approachable now but should age and evolve further. (02/08)

2006 Clos de Grand Beaupréau  
Mid depth straw appearance. Delicate and shy nose that needs some time. The palate is more expressive with a delicate mineral and peach profile. Well textured. This is a very delicate style, but shows its quality with more minerality than found in the Clos de Coulaine. Still youthful and in need of more time in bottle. (02/08)

2006 Savennières – Roche aux Moines  
Bright. Pale yellow/straw. Shy on the nose with a hint of honey behind. Very delicate, but one can see Papin’s style emerging within this vintage. Very good minerality with greater intensity and power. You can almost crunch on the acidity. Very fine, elegant and refined. This is still in its infancy and demands respect in terms of its potential for future development. (02/08) 

2005 Savennières – Roche aux Moines  
Bright. Deep-straw. Richly textured and modern style nose. Peaty, with the oak showing a little too much at this stage. Very ripe, open and attractive on the palate. Very soft on entry, it builds well, although the alcohol and ripeness show. Though there is a distinct impression of the residual sugar here. Otherwise good weight and balance, however, it is slightly overwhelming to the finish. It is open and attractive now, but would benefit with keeping a few more years for the wine to integrate. (02/08)  

2005 Savennières - Clos le Grand Beaupréau
Pale straw appearance. No sign of evolution here. There is a tight, stony, sinewy nose to this that gives little away, but it’s all there behind, just waiting to grow into itself. This is incredibly complex, but the taster needs to search hard and exhibit patience. There are white flowers, apples, acacia, honey and even a fleck of aniseed here, but it’s the minerality that dominates. The palate is more open and expressive, indicating better what is still to come. The wine is delicate, but also powerful and expressive with great texture and freshness. There is the typical pithy Savennières bite on the finish; a bitter twist. Excellent balance and restraint. Probably the quintessential example of a modern Savennières. This is approachable now, and quite delicious, but it deserves to be kept and allowed to age further. 13.5% (12/08)

2003 Clos de Coulaine ‘La Pierre de Coulaine’ Doux  
There was very little sec produced here this vintage. Bright. Deep yellow/gold. Very attractive apricot confit nose. This is more Layon than Savennières in style. Delicate, fresh and lively. Rich on entry with excellent weight and texture. Sweet (140 g/l residual sugar) but with lovely balance and real elegance. Very refined. There is a touch of Alsatian Pinot Gris about this with an attractive meaty, foie-gras like flavour profile. Oily textured and a persistent finish. Lovely. Delicious now, but will age and evolve further. About 1,000 (50cl) bottles produced. (02/08)

2001 Clos de Coulaine  
Bright. Mid-full yellow/straw. Mature, waxy/oily nose. This is in a second phase of its evolution. Typical and quite old fashioned in style. White flowers and truffles. Still lively on the palate. Well textured with some of the oiliness of the nose and some terpine hints. Persistent finish with more flavours of white flowers. This is mature but not tired. Drinking well now and unlikely to improve further. It should hold a few more years. (02/08)

2000 Clos de Coulaine  
Bright. Mid-full yellow/gold. Very open and attractive nose. Old fashioned and quite mature. Some terpine aromas developing. Complex with truffles and white flowers. Mature. Rich on entry with a lovely creamy texture. Still extremely delicate with excellent weight and balance. Very gentle and refined. Good length. This should age further as the acidity is still very fresh, but is à point and completely harmonious now. (04/09)

1999 Clos de Coulaine  
Very pale straw/yellow. Delicate and refined on the nose. Clean and still fresh. Proper Chenin. Gentle and elegant on the palate with a hint of residual sugar and a creamy texture and a faintly chalky finish. Good length. Understated and honest. This is drinking well now, but will continue to age for a few more years. (04/08)

2005 Clos de Coulaine, Anjou Villages  
Very deep and youthful appearance. Purple rim. Rich, ripe and concentrated nose but still true to its origin. Bright red and black fruit on entry. Taut and mineral with very good grip. Austere, but with good flesh. Pure, with racy acidity. The tannins are still quite grippy and it will need some time to soften and evolve, but this shows great potential. (02/08)

2004 Clos de Coulaine, Anjou Villages  
Bright, mid-full youthful red. This is honest and authentic. Mineral, stony and with good Cabernet Franc purity and flesh on the nose. Black and red fruits show on the palate, with very good structure and weight. Initially taut and tannic, but this softens with time in the glass. Good length. Ideally needs more time, but is approachable now. It shows a sense of place. (02/08)  

1999 Clos de Coulaine, Anjou Villages
Some evolution in appearance. Lovely pure Cabernet Franc nose. Initially herbal, it opens up well. Bloody on both nose and palate, there are black fruits and a mineral edge. Delicate and slate-like flavours. Light but proper. This is drinking now, but will hold further. (01/08)

1998 Clos de Coulaine, Anjou Villages  
Dull, mid-full appearance. Brick red/garnet suggesting some evolution. Secondary characters to the nose, but retains good Cabernet Franc definition. Lead pencils and damp earth. Clean with good intensity to the palate. Iron-filings and mineral. The nose is probably more intriguing than the palate at this stage. Mature on entry with good grip, but just lacks a little fruit and is a bit hollow on the mid palate with the finish carried by the acidity to some extent. Drinking well now, it should hold and may evolve a little further. (07/08) 

Claude Papin
Chateau de Pierre Bise  
Beaulieu-sur-Layon  
T: +33 2 41 78 31 44  
F: +33 2 41 78 41 24  

chateaupb@hotmail.com
 

 

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