Thomas Pico started Pattes Loup in 2004 working on 2.5ha under the wing of his friends Alice and Olivier de Moor, with whom he runs the renowned wine fair Chai l’Un Chai l’Autre. The domaine takes its name after a vineyard planted by Thomas in the lieu-dit of Pattes-Loup (meaning wolf’s paw) which he inherited from his dear grandfather whom he was very close to. Thomas initially worked as an employee at his family’s Domaine de Bois d’Yver in Courgis and, following his grandfather’s death, managed to convince his father to stop using chemicals and convert their vineyards to organic, finally reaching certification in 2009. In an appellation where an overuse of herbicides and pesticides is unfortunately still the norm, Pattes Loup and its fastidiously tended low-yielding vines, happily living among a wide array of wildflowers and plants, feels like a world apart. Various acquisitions over the years, mostly from family members and Dad retiring, have brought the size of the domaine to 24ha, all on Chablis’ left bank around the hills of Courgis and Préhy. Nowadays Thomas and Evi, his right-hand woman, vinify at Bois d’Yver in a recently built, spacious and functional winery with a state-of-the-art underground ageing cellar. They look for full ripeness harvesting later than most, they ferment and age in a variety of vessels and sizes (egg-shaped concrete, oak, stainless steel) allowing long élevage on lees to retain tension, texture and perfect balance. Low doses of SO2 are only added at racking and pre-bottling, and from 2018 the exact levels are specified on the labels.
This comes from three parcels (2ha) around Courgis: la Ménarde, les Malantes and Pattes Loup, hence the name of the domaine. The vines are issued from a massale selection, and in a full harvest yields average just 43hh (60 permitted). This wine was aged for a minimum of 18 months, two thirds in stainless steel, one third in 7hl cement eggs. Yields were a plentiful 50hh in 2018 with the vines enjoying a warm and dry season and making up for the loss of previous vintages. There's much more depth of fruit in the 2018 which offers ripe grapefruit, hint of apricot and saline minerality on the finish.