The why, the what and the how of...

Domaine Philippe Alliet

This Domaine is a classic example of vignerons who are acutely aware of the treasured terroir they are in possession of. Knowledge and experience are invested wholeheartedly in the vineyards and the return is a collection of 100% Cabernet Franc wines of purity and balance.

Philippe Alliet and his son Pierre preside over this small 17-hectare domaine (affectionately known as the “Pope of Chinon”) next to Chinon in Cravant-les-Côteaux in the Loire, about 300km south-west of Paris. When Claude and Philippe took over the family vineyards in 1978, their vision was clear: extend the vineyard holdings and be sure to get the very best out of them. The site of some of the best Cabernet Franc vineyards in the region, the Alliet family is widely regarded as one of the leading producers in Chinon.

Consisting of eighteen villages, the appellation of Chinon is located along the Vienne River and with its northern boundary sitting at the river’s confluence with that of the Loire’s. The soils here are rich and complex and can be roughly summed up in three parts: terraces of alluvium with gravel and sand along the river; further up on the slopes along the river there is more limestone; and at the top, along the plateau, the soil is characterised more by clay and sand.

With no frills, the Chinon “Tradition” leads the way in terms of value for quality Loire Cabernet Franc. Fully de-stemmed (same across the range), this wine spends 9 months in cement tank. Produced from 60-70-year-old vines, the “Vieilles Vignes” spends twice as long in cement tank and is a wine that shows the wonderful potential for bottle-aged Cabernet Franc. A third cuvée is produced from recently acquired vineyards named “L’Huisserie” which are planted on a south-facing clay and siliceous alluvial slope. These are 15 year-old vines and the wine is aged in 500L barrels. The Domaine’s top red cuvée is the “Coteau de Noiré” which is produced from a single, 40 year-old vineyard. All wines are using de-stemmed grapes to reduce the vegetal characteristics often associated with the red wines from the valley. They also only use indigenous yeasts. Alliet also makes a white wine – a very small production Chenin blanc.

“Father-and-son team of Philippe and Pierre Alliet have raised the bar for what’s possible with Loire Cabernet Franc and are now run one of the top domaines in Chinon.”
Jason Wilson for Vinous | July 2020

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