Domaine Pattes Loup is one of the most exciting estates to emerge from Chablis in recent years (Pattes Loup means "wolf’s paws"). Thomas Pico started his tiny estate in Courgis in 2005, just outside of Chablis, under the wing of his friends and fellow organic Chablisiens, Alice and Olivier de Moor. He inherited 2.4 hectares of vines from his family’s estate that had been producing correct, but uninspiring wines. Motivated to take a qualitative leap in a new direction, and against the wishes of his father, he immediately began a program of strict yield control and a conversion to Organic Viticulture—a rarity in Chablis, and a feat of extreme diligence in this often inhospitable vinegrowing region.
Fortunately, most of his vines were planted by his grandfather in selection massale in the hillsides near Courgis and Preys, the two highest altitude villages within Chablis, with vineyards up to 300 meters. Pico harvests everything by hand, with hand sorting of any imperfect berries at the winery on a vibrating table de trie. He ferments all his wines using indigenous yeasts. He does a 14-16 month élévage on the wines and bottles without fining and filtration. His Chablis AC, from 55+ year old vines, is fermented in about 30-40% in concrete egg-shaped fermenters with the balance in stainless steel. The Premier Crus, Côte de Jouan, Beauregard and Montmains (from the lieu-dit "Butteaux"), from hillside vineyards between 25 and 50 years old, are all raised in older oak.
For a young winemaker in his mid-to-late 20’s, he is wise beyond his years. His drive and passion to express the soul and spirit of his land and territory reminds us of Anselme Selosse. These wines all scream “Chablis”, but not just in their briny minerality. There is a sense of vitality to the wines, and a textured density that can only come from his dedicated work in the vineyards and transparent winemaking.