After working a stint with Leon Barral in the Languedoc, 21 year old Jonathan Pabiot returned to his family domaine in Pouilly-Fumé with a passion for organic viticulture and strong ideas for the future. Jonathan's father Didier -- a 4th generation vigneron in Les Loges -- was not easily pursuaded of this new, natural path forward but he nevertheless gave Jonathan 1.5 hectares of vines that were planted by his grandfather. Jonathan found an additional 1.5 hectares to rent (vines he later purchased) and immedeiately converted all three hectares to organic viticulture. From these vines he crafted the much sought-after, high-end cuvées of Prédeliction and Aubaine. This fine debut created early whispers that Jonathan was among those who would push the limits of quality in Pouilly-Fumé, much like the late, great Didier Dagueneau had done several decades earlier.
It took only 6 months for Didier Pabiot to see the results of his son's organic approach in the vineyards. He decided to follow Jonathon's lead and began organic conversion of his 17 hectares of vines. The father-son duo joined forces and in 2010, with all 20 combined hectares now in full organic certification. The Pabiot vineyards are truly remarkable, and are among the most lively soils and vibrant, healthy plantings one will ever see. Jonathan and Didier are one of only three organic growers out of 120 domaines in Pouilly-Fumé. While many of their friends and neighbors are plagued by disease in their vineyards, Pabiot's vines remain healthy and equipped to resist the many threats present in such an inhospitable growing climate. At present, they are now transitioning to biodynamics and feel the regular influence of these BD preparations are further strengthening the vines the the overall health of their dynamic terroirs.
The entry-level Pouilly-Fumé is a blend of all three terroirs found at the estate: Kimmeridgian marl, chalky Portlandian, and clay-silex on flint. The vines average 30 years of age, and are planted very densely at 10,000 vines per hectare! Outside of Burgundy and a few select locations, this density is quite rare in the wine world. Jonathan works the soils to encourage deep rooting. He passes with his tractor three to five times annually and then allows grass to grow between rows at the end of summer as harvest approaches. He debuds in the springtime—a technique of removing certain buds to increase quality and concentration in the remaining ones—though he does not green harvest. Upon harvesting by hand, the vines yield an average of 30 hectoliters per hectare.
The grapes are carefully hand-sorted, followed by a slow fermentation with indigenous years at low temperatures for about 10 days. Minimal SO2 is used, and the wine remains on its lees for 5 months in stainless steel vats before racking. This resulting wine is remarkably vibrant, fine and long. Jonathan Pabiot is a quiet force and his expressive, transparent Pouily-Fumés are turning heads in France and beyond.