Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Central Vineyards – prospects for 2011 vintage: Sancerre

From Sancerre towards Chavignol

We headed across to Sancerre and Pouilly to see how the vineyards and the grapes look before the start of the vintage, which is expected next Monday 5th September. This is certainly well in advance of recent years and is about in line with the start in 2003 – the year of the heatwave.

Bunches of Pinot Noir just to the south of the Bourges-Sancerre road (above and below)

Pinot Noir rot but fortunately fairly dry

It is clear that rain on the 14th August and again some last Friday (26th) – not a much as in parts of Touraine – has caused problems. Short of time I could only get a quick impression from parts of the vineyard. However, the incidence of rot seems variable and 2011 will be a year when the work of serious vignerons in their vines will pay off. Those who have controlled their yields, deleafed and opened up the canopy should have few problems of rot, as long as the weather doesn't become very wet and humid. Those who haven't and who have used fertiliser on their vines are likely to be faced with significantly more rot. Having said that there is no doubt that there have been big improvements here over the last 10-12 years. 

Anyone intended to make serious Sancerre Rouge will certainly have to hand picked and be prepared to be ruthless in their selection.

Puddle on top of Les Monts Damnés

Sancerre Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc)Like the Pinots, there was some rot in the Sauvignon that I saw. It varies from parcel to parcel and there are plenty of completely healthy, rot free bunches. Hopefully the weather will be like today – around 22˚C warm but not humid with quite a fresh evening. Certainly this won't be as easy a vendange as 2008 or 2009 when the fruit was picture perfect, especially 2009.

Sauvignon Blanc@top of Les Monts Damnés
  Sauvignon Blanc above Verdigny 

Sauvignon Blanc with rot above Verdigny

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