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2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 20 April 2012

Loire frost: video of damage in Touraine Noble Joué

Frost protection in Noble-Joué – this may have worked better than the frost pots shown in the video but is obviously a much more expensive option
(foto: 28.8.2011)

La Nouvelle République has a video here of producers in Touraine Noble Joué in their vineyards assessing the frost damage. Rémi Cosson and Michel Rousseau  (Rousseau Frères) are featured. It is interesting to see how irregular the damage appears to be with some buds surviving just because of their position on the vine. Cousson estimates damage to be around 30% of the crop but says things with be clearer in a fortnight. 

Frost pots were lit in the vineyard to trying to raise the temperature but the temperature was too low – down to -5˚C – and there was no wind so the heat from the pots just went straight up. Fortunately the vines here seem to be less far advanced than in other parts of Touraine with still some quite closed buds, which will have reduced the amount damage. Elsewhere already in leaf, especially early starting varieties like Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc.

I think the NR has the date of the frost wrong as it occurred over the night Monday to Tuesday and not Tuesday to Wednesday as they say. 

 Vignes and chai of Rousseau Frères, Esvres
Note vines are grassed over in the centre of the rows

Noble Joué has its own small appellation within Touraine for their unusual rosé which is made from three Pinots – Gris, Meunier and Noir. Although the name comes from a suburb of Tours, the majority of the vines are now in the commune of Esvres in the Indre Valley. The vineyards are mainly to the north west of the small town of Esvres.    

Further report in La Nouvelle République today again reporting on Noble Joué but also of some frost damage in Vouvray. The NR now has the day right but the picture shows a vineyard blitzed by weedkiller, so the frost has only helped to complete the destruction already inflicted by the producer. Noble Joué sells well so there ought to be no economic excuse for resorting to 100% weedkiller treatment.

Blitzed vines in Noble Joué: late August 2011  

Late news flash: Vouvray also hit
Contrary to earlier reassuring reports I now gather that Vouvray was hit by Tuesday morning's frost. Benoît Gautier tells me that overall damage is now estimated to be between 20%-25%. Parts of Montlouis may also have been hit.   

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