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

Saturday, 24 September 2011

2011 Loire vintage: Sancerre – Pascal Joulin c/o Domaine Michel Vattan

Pascal Joulin 

It was good to meet Pascal Joulin again on Thursday. I first met Pascal back in the early 1990s when he was looking after La Cave des Hauts de Seyr in the Coteaux Charitois. Then he moved to the Domaine de la Grange just beyond the limits of the Pouilly-Fumé appellation. I visited him once there and then lost touch. Happily Pascal got back in touch with me when the Domaine Michel Vattan 2010 Cuvée Argile won a bronze medal at this year's Decanter World Wine Awards.  

In 2002 Pascal had moved to Sancerre to work with Michel Vattan in Maimbray, just up from the chai of Pascal and Nicolas Reverdy. In 2008 he took over the 9 hectare domaine on Michel's retirement. Prior to his arrival the wines went to the cooperative or the négoce, Pascal has developed the domaine's direct sales. Now 65% of the production goes on export – Norway, United States and some to The Sampler in the UK .   

Pascal in his old vines overlooking Maimbray 

Pascal: "We started picking on Wednesday 7th beginning with the Pinot Noir. The ban des Vendanges was on the 1st but the grapes weren't ripe then so I preferred to wait, even so the harvest was three weeks in advance of 2010. Then the following day we started on the Sauvignon Blanc. The 3rd September we had had a sharp storm with 22mm of rain in just 15 minutes. Waiting until the 7th following the potential degree rise to 12.5% and the level of tartaric acidity go up.

"I have 1.30ha of Pinot Noir – 0.70 ares goes to make rosé and 0.6 ares goes to make red. This year we had to cut off 30% of the Pinot Noir and throw it on the ground because of rot. Even having grass in the vineyards made a big difference this year.

"Everything is picked by machine at the moment but I want to move to picking the Pinot Noir by ahdn as soon as possible. My Pinot is planted on the caillottes. I did have some planted on the terres blanches (clay and limestone) at the bottom of the slope but it never ripened, so I've pulled it out.

My aim with the red is to make a typical light, easy drinking Loire red, so I use a short cuvaison so as not to extract too much tannin."    

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