Thomas Pico Pattes Loup Chablis “Vent d’Ange” 2017
“…these are some of the most ground-breaking, intensely captivating wines being made in Chablis today. Thomas Pico is on his way to becoming a superstar.”
— Antonio Galloni
For a young winemaker, Thomas Pico of Domaine Pattes Loup is wise beyond his years. Devoted to making Chablis that epitomizes the earth and spirit of his terroir, Thomas’s wines have won him comparisons to a pantheon of French wine legends. His wines don’t just say Chablis. They sing Chablis with beauty and vitality. They’re minerally, but with density. Pure and bright, but with stratas of texture and layers of complexity. The kind of wine that can only be made by his kind of passion.
After studying enology in the Cotes de Nuits, Thomas began Pattes Loups, which means Wolf’s Paws, on a tiny domaine in Courgis, just outside of the village of Chablis. He inherited a few hectares of vines from his family’s estate, which was producing correct but uninspiring wines. Against the wishes of his father, Thomas began practicing organic viticulture. This is a rarity in Chablis, which can be a climatically challenging vine growing region. It’s a practice that demands precision, diligence, tenacity.
Thomas hand-harvests his vineyards and hand-sorts his grapes. He ferments all his wines using indigenous yeasts and bottles them without fining and filtration. His Vent d’Ange Chablis is made from 55-year-old vines, which were planted selection massale by his grandfather on the hillsides near Courgis and Preys, the two highest altitude villages in the appellation. About half of Vent d’Ange Chablis is fermented in concrete, the other half in stainless steel.
The result of Thomas’s labors is a stunning Chablis, with a core of Lemon Verbena, Meyer Lemon, orange peel, slate, stone and chalk. Vent d’Ange is as persistent on the palate as any wine I’ve ever tasted, its aromas and flavors resolving themselves in a minerally granitic sensation. The wine is young now, with the great crunchy acidity of youthful Chablis that I love. It will easily age 10 years. Maybe even 20.
Chablis is one of the most exciting and undervalued terroirs in all of Burgundy. I stocked Thomas’s wines in tiny, tiny quantities in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. We haven’t stocked them since.
Why not? Well, as Galloni said in 2011, “Thomas Pico is on his way to becoming a superstar.” I fought for six years to win back a tiny allocation of Thomas’s wine. Don’t miss this opportunity.