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2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

2009 Loire vintage has started

Interloire, the organiational and promotional body for Loire wines, reports that the first grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc) were picked on Monday 7th September to make sparkling wine. These generally are picked less ripe than grapes for still wines. My guess is that it would have been mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that were picked, as they are better suited for sparkling wine than Sauvignon.

They report that 300 hectares in Touraine were hit by summer hailstorms. The estimated total volume for the Pays Nantais, Anjou-Saumur and Touraine is similar to the 2006 and 2007 vintages with around 2,200,000 hl.

News from some producers from west to east:

Bernard Chereau
Bernard Chereau – Chereau-Carré (Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine)
“We will be starting on Monday 14th. Everything is looking good at the moment – we’ve had a very dry summer, although we had a little rain last week around 20mm, which has been good for the grapes. I anticipate that the harvest will run until the beginning of October.” Bernard will be sending me news and pictures as the harvest progresses.

Luc Choblet, Jérôme's dad, repairing the picking machine: September 2008

Jérôme Choblet – Domaine des Herbauges (Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu)

“We’ll start by picking four or five rows in a few parcels on Monday, which will let us see how the crop is and sort out the programme of picking. The ban des vendanges allows picking to start on Thursday (10th) but as the forecast is good I think most people will wait until Monday.

Christophe Daviau

Christophe Daviau, Domaine de Bablut, Brissac-Quincé, Anjou
“It’s been a very dry summer. Fortunately we have had a little rain recently – 8mm on 24th August then around 12mm last week. All in all abut 20-25mm over the last 15 days. This has been particularly good for the Cabernet Franc, which tends to suffer from lack of water, especially around véraison. Cab Franc’s véraison tends to be less uniform than that of the Cabernet Sauvignon.
“It has still been around 30˚C but the nights are cool and fresh. We’ve had dew in the morning so this has helped the Franc as well. We’ll start picking the Chardonnay, which is at 11˚, on Monday for the Crémant de Loire. We’ll follow this with the Sauvignon Blanc, which is at 12˚, and then the Grolleau for the rosé. Last year we picked the Sauvignon around 25th September, so this year we are a good 10 days ahead.

“The grapes are looking superb – very healthy at the moment – although there is less volume than we had anticipated due to the dry weather. There was a risk of mildew in late spring/early summer but that disappeared at the end of June. I expect we will start on the Cabernet Franc at the end of September/early October.

Jean-Martin Dutour in front of the Baudry-Dutour winery

Jean-Martin Dutour, Baudry-Dutour, Chinon

“Things are looking quite good (pas mal!). Our Cabernet Franc hasn’t suffered as we had enough rain in July. The grass here is still fairly green. I expect we will start picking the young vine Cabernet Franc for the rosé and for the lighter cuvées around 28th September. Then for the older vines will be around 5th October, which I expect will have a lot of sugar. This isn’t a problem for our top cuvées but is for the lighter cuvées. The challenge is to pick ripe grapes without too much alcohol. We’ve all been concentrating on getting the tannins ripe, forgetting that the Loire is known for its fresh wines and you can’t have that with a high level of alcohol.

“We’ll pick the Chenin around the beginning of the second week of October." Jean-Martin is well aware that there is still some time to go and the situation can change. “At the moment it’s like the joke about the man who fell out of a 12 storey block of flats, “It’s going OK so far.” he said as he passed the 5th floor ,,,,,,,,

Aynard and Isabelle de Clermont Tonnerre

Aynard de Clemont Tonnerre, Clos du Porteau, Saint-Georges-sur-Cher
“We will be starting our Sauvignon Blanc this Friday. It’s at 12.89% potential with total acidity at 4.82g per litre – superbe belle equilibre, arômés très forts. I have never seen grapes in such good condition ... the new methods of growing are starting to change the aromatic potential ... very interesting."

Jean-François Merieau, Vignobles des Bois Vaudons, Saint-Julien de Chedon
I understand that Jean-François will be starting the harvest next Tuesday. He will be starting with his Côt, which seems unusual, but he has some very old clones of Côt and he always harvests these first.


David McDuff said...

Nice timing, Jim ;) And a very good picture of Jean-Francois. Any objections to me borrowing it for after-the-fact inclusion in my recent post on his Sauvignon?

Anonymous said...

Any Muscadet from the Chereau-Carre stable is fine with me. Good rep here in Alberta.


Jim Budd said...

Thanks David. Bob I'm sure Bernard will be pleased hear that.