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2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 19 September 2011

2011 Loire vintage: Côt or Cabernet Franc@Saint Georges + thermo

Côt or Cabernet Franc?

I'm hoping that someone is going to help me out here. Yesterday passing through the vines of Saint-Georges-sur-Cher it was clear that a big majority of the grapes have now been picked. There was a block that still had some unpicked black grapes, so I stopped to take some photos. These are with Côt or Cabernet Franc. Initially I thought they were Côt (Malbec) from the colour of the leaves but then I noticed that some leaves were indented indicating that they might be Cabernet. Now looking again at the photos I'm inclined to go back to my first guess – that these are Côt. Your thoughts please.

The leaves

Then on to the Clos du Porteau in La Vallée Pitrou (part of Saint-Georges-sur-Cher) where I caught up with Aynard de Clermont Tonnerre and Henri Chapon. Aynard has again been busy this year during the harvest with his thermo-vinification system helped in 2011 by Henri as they rush around the Loire vineyards heating up their customers' must with the thermo machine.

Aynard: "We have been very busy, especially as there is quite a lot of rot about, mainly in weed killered vineyards, and one of the advantages of thermo-vinification is that it removes the taste of rot. There is much less rot in grassed over vineyards."

Aynard's 2011 Sauvignon (made by Isabelle, la vigneronne du Clos du Porteau) tasted promising. We tried vats from a number of different parcels. The fruit was picked around 12%-12.5% alc and has some weight and good clean flavours. They are increasing relying on the natural yeasts.


Mark said...

I would go with Côt Jim, as the grapes look quite large for Cabernet. Certainly with the heavy rain on the 3rd and 11th of September the Côt grapes have swelled quite considerably, whilst the Cabernet are relatively unaffected.

Jim Budd said...

Mark – happy to go with the welcome advice of a master vigneron!

Chris Kissack said...

"We have been very busy, especially as there is quite a lot of rot about and one of the advantages of thermo-vinification is that it removes the taste of rot."

Evidence pleasem M. Aynard! :-)

See you at the Roederers tonight Jim?

Jim Budd said...

Chris. Sorry not to see you at Roederers as I'm in the Loire. Off to have a look at Montlouis and Vouvray very shortly.

Good luck for this evening.


Mark said...

Chris - this from Richard Kelley's Loire site - Côte Roannaise
First seen in Beaujolais in the early 1990s, this method was soon common place in the Roannaise. The process involves heating either whole berries (although the method allows for heating must as an alternative) to a temperature of between 50 and 80 degrees centigrade for around one minute. This ensures the skins of the grapes are hot, whilst the pulp remains cold. The result is that the skin cells of the grape are either damaged or killed which helps release the anthocyanins (colour compounds) during maceration and fermentation. The result, in theory, is to produce wines that are rich in colour, with low levels of astringency (the method extracts only the anthocyanins and not the tannin compounds) and increased primary fruit flavours. This method is also useful in years when there is rot, such as 2002, which is when the Vial brothers began using this technique.

Chris Kissack said...

Jim - disappointed to hear that...although I would happily trade places with you for sure.

Thanks for that Mark, although I remain sceptical. When wines taste of rot, it is because the fruit was rotten prior to vinification; how would heating eradicate this?

Jim Budd said...

Chris. I will ask Aynard for clarification on the wonders of rot removal.

Mark said...

Link here Chris
You will no doubt understand the science better than me but apparently heating for 10 seconds to 80 degrees destroys the laccase enzyme in grey rot which causes many of the taste problems.

Jim Budd said...

Thanks for this Mark.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Kissack said...

Thanks Mark, I will take a look at that.