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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

Monday, 30 April 2012

Touraine Chenonceaux and Touraine Oisly – out with a whimper

Château de Chenonceau on the Cher has refused to allow 'Chenonceau' to be used for the new appellation. Instead it is 'Chenonceaux' after the village name. 

Tomorrow sees the official release of the first wines to carry the new Touraine Chenonceaux and Touraine Oisly appellations. The new Oisly appellation covers 10 communes in the Loir-et-Cher to the north of the Cher Valley and to the south of the Cheverny AC, while the larger and more extended Chenonceaux runs along both sides of the Cher and includes 27 communes from the départments Indre-et-Loire and Loir-et-Cher. 

The Oisly appellation is for whites only using Sauvignon Blanc and for the first vintage producers have opted to put forward only 16 hectares for appellation. The rest of the Sauvignon Blanc in the ten communes will continue to be sold as straight Touraine. 

The Chenonceaux appellation is for both white (100% Sauvignon) and red but the reds will not be released until 1st September. Like Oisly, only 16ha has been put forward for the white Touraine Chenonceaux and 19ha for the red. 

For the moment it looks like the Touraine producers have been sold or have opted to buy a pup as the price of the two new appellations was to 'rationalise' the grapes varieties are allowed for the straight Touraine AC. Previously a considerable range of varieties were allowed recognising that Touraine east of Tours is the melting pot of vinous Loire combining varieties – mainly Sauvignon and Pinot Noir from the Central Vineyards – with those from further west – mainly Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc but also Pineau d'Aunis, Arbois, Grolleau and others. Mix in Gamay, Côt and Sauvignon Gris and you have a wide palette of varieties. Clearly all too much for the bureaucratic mind and perhaps also for large companies wanting to simplify their marketing message. 

Under the new regulations pure Cabernet Franc there have been a number of casualties – no pure Cabernet Franc, nor Chenin Blanc, nor Pineau d'Aunis – either as a rosé or a red and no pure Fié Gris (Sauvignon Gris). Already producers of Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc in the birthplace of Rabelais have successfully sought refuge with AC Chinon. I suspect that a number of producers of the often delicious Pineau d'Aunis Rosé and those like Jacky Preys, who make Fié Gris will sell their wine as vin de pays or Vin de France.

A complete dog's dinner and for what?

Rather than worrying about grape varieties you might have thought that the architects of the new régime might have followed the lead given by Saumur-Le-Puy Notre Dame and Savennières Roche-aux-Moines and either severely restrict or ban the use of weedkiller in the vineyard. The only restriction on the use of weedkiller in the new regulations is to ban producers from spraying their ditches close to their vines. And where pray does the water from the weed killered vineyards drain to if it does go into the ditches?


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