Finding Balance in Nature and Wine

Olivier Pithon’s wine journey began at the age of four, wandering through his brother’s winery in the Coteaux du Layon region of the Loire Valley. He worked through his teen years apprenticing in the vineyards of Anjou before leaving home at 18 to pursue more formal training in Bordeaux. There, he worked with Stéphane Derenoncourt, a winemaker renowned for his understanding of terroir, and this experience had a profound impact on Olivier’s desire to work in harmony with nature, to express the uniqueness of specific terroir and grapes and to achieve balance with both nature and wine.

Instead of returning to the Loire, Olivier was drawn to the dramatic landscape of Roussillon, replete with rich and complex soils and grapevines thriving at 300m altitude, with a seemingly innate understanding that there was artistry to be achieved in wine growing there. Working with local grapes Macabeu, Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc and Carignan, Grenache Noir and Mourvèdre, Olivier is emphatic about farming with “love and respect”. He farms organically and biodynamically in his own vineyards and partners with other like-minded wine growers to source exceptional fruit. As Olivier simply puts it: “We cannot say we respect the land while using products which have skulls marked on their bottles.” In the winery, there is minimal intervention; wines are fermented and aged in steel, concrete or neutral oak in order to maintain the varietal characteristics of high-altitude, mineral-rich vines and fresh, ripe Mediterranean fruit.

Olivier’s elemental approach to wine growing is his brilliance: beginning with a profound connection to the land, his wines express a distinct sense of place along with purity of fruit and extraordinary balance. The “Mon P’tit Pithon” wines are what Olivier calls “simple pleasures”: vivacious and thirst-quenching, to be enjoyed with friends, in the sun, with a good meal. These are simply delicious wines, but also products of a careful and conscientious wine grower invested in his land now and for the future – a natural choice on many levels.

Olivier Pithon 2020 ‘Mon P’tit Pithon’ Blanc, Côtes Catalanes
Retail: $26.95 / btl

Olivier Pithon 2020 ‘Mon P’tit Pithon’ Rouge, Côtes Catalanes
Retail: $26.95 / btl

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The Wines

Olivier Pithon 2020 ‘Mon P’tit Pithon’ Blanc, Côtes Catalanes
The wine has a pale lemon colour with a fruity and floral nose. On the palate, it is has a creamy texture with hints of fresh almonds and stone fruits. Made entirely in stainless steel tanks, the palate remains clean and fresh. Pairs well with salad or white fish.

Olivier Pithon 2020 ‘Mon P’tit Pithon’ Rouge, Côtes Catalanes
This friendly and generous cuvée is made in the most unpretentious style by winemaker Olivier Pithon. With fruit and spice on the nose, the palate is well balanced and dry, with refreshing acidity, notes of liquorice, berries and pepper. Enjoy slightly chilled – a perfect pairing with good friends.

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About Olivier Pithon

Olivier Pithon grew up in the wine business. His grandfather was a vine grower in Anjou, and when he was very young, Olivier’s big brother, Jo Pithon, settled on the hillsides of Layon in the Loire. After learning his craft in Bordeaux, his brother introduced him to Gerard Gauby (Domaine Gauby) who farms near the village of Calce in the heart of Roussillon, tucked against the Pyrénées. Olivier fell in love with the land and established his winery in 2000.

Calce is a unique place situated between the Mediterranean, the Pyrénées and Corbières. Located at an altitude of 300m the land is influenced by the Tramontane wind which blows from the north-west. It is dry and cold bringing clear blue skies and relief from the heat in the summer and cold air in the winter that allows the vines to rejuvenate. The soil is a mixture of limestone, schist and marl; and Olivier has 5 different sites that comprise a total of 24ha. Since the beginning he has farmed organically and with harmony for the entire vineyard, lessons he learned from his many mentors in Bordeaux that include the highly regarded Bordeaux consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt. His winery and vineyards are now certified organic, and Olivier has been farming biodynamically since 2010. In Olivier’s words ‘I discovered the sensitivity of how wines can become pleasure, balance and lightness’.

From the ground to the bottle, Olivier Pithon is focused on one simple rule: making wines the most natural way possible, and with respect to the environment. This means without the use of chemicals, but Olivier works in harmony with the environmental cycles and uses cows, bees and sowing. His main estate cuvée, Laïs, is named after his cow. Olivier does purchase fruit from like-minded organic growers for his entry line Mon P’tit Pithon. The winery is thoughtfully laid out with concrete, stainless steel and large oak vats used for his 3 ranges. Low yields from a combination of Grenache (Gris, Blanc and Noir), Macabeu, Carignan, Syrah and Mourvedre produce beautifully balanced wines that age in a magical way,with fine tannins and appealing acidity. Total annual production is about 60,000 bottles (5,000 cases).

olivierpithon.com

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You can also email [email protected] or call 416.693.7994. We’d love to chat about wine with you!

Olivier Pithon is represented in Ontario by The Vine Agency.

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