The wines of François Pinon are considered among the finest of Vouvray. François, a former child psychologist, took over the estate from his father in 1987, and has steadily made a name for the estate over the past 10 years. He is a serious winemaker whose main focus is "to keep the typicity of both the appellation and the vintage" in all his wines. Vouvray is the name of a town and the surrounding AOC. Vouvray, the wine, is always white and always Chenin Blanc, but beyond that can vary greatly from dry to sweet to sparkling. Pinon's sparkling Vouvray is a beautiful expression of Chenin Blanc. It has a nice texture, good balance, a pretty and grapey character and a lengthy finish. Pinon farms organically. He applies no chemicals to the vineyards, plows to keep down weedy growth. New plantings are started by selection from the vineyard, rather than purchases from a nursery, keeping the genetic makeup of his vines consistent. His vineyards total 14 hectares, and are spread around his home in the Vallée de Cousse, about 5 miles northeast of the town of Vouvray. His soil is varied, some clay and silica on a base of limestone with some flint, and the area is rated among the top sites in the appellation for Vouvrays of distinction and long life.
Established in 1921 by Baptiste Dutheil, then developped by René Couly who married Madeleine Dutheil, the House of Couly-Dutheil has become over the years the great name for Chinon. Today Couly-Dutheil remain a family house owned by the third and fourth generation. The Chinon region has all the qualities of the greatest soils. Its semi-oceanic climate is exceptionally mild and benefits of long sunny periods. The variety of soils and their particular qualities allows the cabernet-franc (98% of the vineyard) to express all its fineness and its celebrated "taffetas" within a range of strong personalities. The sandy and gravelly plains along the Vienne river for the thirst quenching light and fruity wines. The clayey, siliceous slopes and flat-lands producing fine and subtle wines. The clayey and chalky hills where are born the sumptuous wines meant for aging. Of the 2000 hectares of the Chinon vineyard, Couly-Dutheil vinifies some 130 hectares of which 90 are their own property located over the three production areas of the appellation. If the quality of the soils, amongst the best in Chinon, contributes to the renown of Couly-Dutheil, their quest for quality in the selection of vintages and love for perfection in maturing adds to their prestige.