Domaine de Pallus, Chinon “Pensées de Pallus”
Domaine de Pallus, Chinon “Pensées de Pallus”

Domaine de Pallus, Chinon “Pensées de Pallus”

Loire Valley, France 2017 (750mL)
Regular price$27.00
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Domaine de Pallus, Chinon “Pensées de Pallus”

Traditional descriptors of Chinon do not typically contain words like “opulent” or “polished.” Chinon is mostly known for cool-climate expressions of Cabernet Franc—crunchy, sometimes leafy-green reds that are bistro staples if not exactly cellar material. But to stereotype Chinon thusly is to overlook polished gems like “Les Pensées de Pallus.” This benchmark old-vine cuvée not only has a kinship to top-tier red Burgundy—the perfume, the purity, the energy—but there’s also a stylistic nod to some of the more elegant Cabernet Franc-based reds of Bordeaux’s Right Bank. 

Before his “return” to Chinon, and Cabernet Franc, in 2003, Bertrand Sourdais picked up valuable winemaking insight in some far-flung locales—especially Spain, where he made his name in Ribera del Duero at Dominio de Atauta. He also did stints with Spanish maestro Alvaro Palacios and at Château Mouton-Rothschild before turning his attention to old-vine Cabernet Franc from his family’s heirloom vineyards in Chinon. Domaine de Pallus is based in Cravant-les-Coteaux, a few miles east of Chinon along the Vienne River (a Loire tributary). This village is home to many of the biggest names in the Chinon AOC, and its vineyards are rooted in the three classic soil types of the region: alluvial gravel closest to the riverbank(s); sandy clay with flint higher up; and limestone and clay at the highest elevations. Grapes for “Pensées” are sourced from mid-slope sites rich in sandy clay over limestone.

“Les Pensées de Pallus” is the estate’s flagship, crafted from vineyards averaging 45 years of age and employing a maceration on skins of 30+ days during fermentation (long by Loire Valley standards). The wine is aged for 12 months in used Burgundy barrels, followed by roughly six months in concrete tanks (the latter lending a pleasing roundness to the texture). Notes of red and black currant, black cherry, tobacco, freshly turned earth, forest floor, and violets misted with morning dew carry over to the juicy, medium-plus-bodied palate. You won’t find any intense bell pepper notes here, just a gentle kiss of green peppercorn and fresh herbs complementing the saturated dark fruit. A plate of cheese and charcuterie would be a great complement, but it would also work with a more elevated dish like braised lamb shanks or roasted lamb chops with herbs and garlic. 

Domaine de Pallus, Chinon “Pensées de Pallus”




Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France


Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France


Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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