Le Pich Winery
Napa Valley AVA
The key objective is always balance using healthy fruit at peak ripeness.
Le Pich Winery is a small, boutique operation that wine insiders refer to as a ‘niche’ winery in that it is designed to fit into certain parameters within the wine industry. The investors in the winery have put their trust in the expertise of manager and winemaker, Julien Fayard.
“It has always been our goal to produce an easy drinking, more affordable Cabernet Sauvignon, with the price/value relationship well below market levels,” informed Julien Fayard, “Our sister brand, Purlieu Wines, produces wines that compete with the very finest in Napa Valley and elsewhere, so our owners decided to make Le Pich’s wines available to a larger segment of the consuming public and price them accordingly.”
Fayard brings a most impressive background to the Le Pich family. A native of Provence in France, where his family produced the wonderfully aromatic Rosé de Provence, he began his career as a student at Bordeaux’s famed Lycée Agricole à Bordeaux and then matriculated to Toulouse’s École Nationale Supérieure de Formation de l’enseignement Agricole for his winemaking degree. He then proceeded to Angers’ School of Agriculture for his masters in Enology. After graduation, Julien Fayard worked in such luminary Bordeaux châteaux as Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Smith Haut Lafitte, each one a world-class entity. When Fayard ultimately decided to relocate to California, he obtained his MBA from the hallowed University of California Davis.
For the record, Le Pich gets its name from a Wappo Indian (Napa Valley’s first inhabitants) term meaning ‘golden eagle.’ These eagles are hunting birds and still soar majestically over the vineyards and add a feeling of grandiose history to the area below. “Our label shows a rendition of a pair of Golden Eagles that have mated for life. It’s the essence of what we are trying to do with the winery, win over customers and fans for life,” explained Julien Fayard.
Le Pich is heavily oriented toward Cabernet Sauvignon, but also produces a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc. The original estate located near Coombsville was planted in Cabernet Sauvignon but was sold some four years ago. “We now have in effect a large number of contracts with outstanding growers both in Napa Valley and elsewhere in the state. These growers are top rung and produce fruit that meets our rigid specifications. All contracts for the fruit are long term, and have been carefully selected,” he added.
Fayard characterizes Le Pich’s wines as “easy drinking and definitely more approachable.” In the competitive world that is today’s Cabernet Sauvignon market, that’s really saying something. “The key objective is always balance using healthy fruit at peak ripeness. We treat every cluster individually and are very strict in our selection of grapes that we use.”
Julien Fayard also believes that his wines are the pure expression of their terroir highlighting the specificities and characteristics of the fruit, soil, and climate. He considers the wines of Le Pich to be excellent examples of that philosophy.
Fayard declared, “The Napa Valley is blessed with a dizzying array of soil strata, microclimates and exposures. I have spent many years examining the factors and assessing their usage in certain wines. You could say that Le Pich’s attempt is somewhat middle of the road concerning these factors, but definitely better than others. I know for sure that it’s certainly more efficient.”
Interestingly, all of Le Pich’s wines are made at Julien Fayard’s private winery located just south of the City of Napa, Fayard Wines. “By doing everything at one place, it gives us full control of each and every wine we produce,” declared Fayard. “Everything inside the winery is fully automated and state-of-the-art. My employees are all experts at what they do and take great pride in the wines we produce. There is still a good deal of individual involvement with the wines, even though we are fully automated. Someone needs to check the wine each day to ensure its progress and you can’t get a machine to do that job.”
Le Pich’s excellent track record of high wine scores and honors is also noteworthy, given the price/value relationship Le Pich’s wines enjoy. “We’re a really well-kept secret,” noted Julien Fayard. “Even though we have distribution in more than 20 states, Le Pich isn’t exactly a household name.”
That all seems about to change. Le Pich presents a marvelous portfolio of wines with its star Cabernet Sauvignon leading the way. It is a distinct pleasure to introduce our Platinum Wine Club members to this wonderful wine. A Votre Sante!
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
As a winemaker, my responsibility is to bring out the natural characteristics of the vineyard with minimal impact on the environment or the winemaking process. Our approach is simple - to grow and source the best fruit and allow it to tell its own story while adding value to the vineyard through organic farming practices. For us, this means working tirelessly with vineyard management crews to ensure the best outcomes for the vines long term.
At 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2016 Le Pich is a testament to the abundance of Napa Valley at peak ripeness. We harvested a handful of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards that bring to light a rich and luxurious mouthfeel with red fruit, licorice and baking spices. The result is a very versatile, opulent Cabernet. Where our single vineyard Cabernets command attention to one very special location and microclimate, Le Pich is our opportunity to widen the range, gaining consistency year after year.
We hope you enjoy this wine and its balanced characteristics. I recommend drinking now or cellaring for another five years.
Le Pich & Purlieu Winemaker