Wednesday, 15 August 2012
An afternoon with Jacky Blot including tasting 2011s
Jacky Blot in the Clos Michet, Montlouis
I met up with Jacky yesterday afternoon in the company of a Belgian importer and one from Switzerland. This was mainly an opportunity to taste all the 2011s. A few of these are in bottle but most will be bottled shortly now that the definitive assemblage is complete.
First, as neither of the importers had visited Jacky's vines, we went for a look at the Clos Michet and the neighbouring Clos Mosny. In introducing the Montlouis appellation, Jacky stressed that rather than facing across northwards over the Loire and towards Vouvray, it actually faces south towards the Cher.
Jacky explaining the Cordon Royat system of pruning that he prefers to the more traditional Gobelet
After a quick look at Le Clos Michet we moved into the 12-hectare Clos Mosny that Jacky acquired in autumn 2010. He explained that in the first year they hadn't started to replace missing vines, although they did rip out a few rows of unwanted Chardonnay rather had looked to see which part of the Clos produced the best fruit for a single vineyard Montlouis. They have now identified a square in the centre of the Clos as the most promising and will be starting work here on replacing missing vines and raising the trellis from two to three wires.
Across the Clos Mosny – the central part has been selected for the single vineyard cuvée
Checks on grape maturity will start at the beginning of September. "With a small crop this year I think we could well be surprised by how quickly the grapes ripen at the end," says Jacky, "so we have to be ready." However, no matter how fast the grapes ripen the 2012 Loire harvest will clearly be later than last year when much of the grapes were being picked in September with some of the early varieties picked in late August.
Part of the small 2012 crop (above and below)
We then repaired to the barrel cellar, at the bottom of the steep rise up into the hamlet of Husseau, before heading back to the offices to taste the 2011s and 2010s.
In the barrel cellar where all the whites are vinified
On left one of Jacky's prized Chassin barrels
2011 and 2010 Montlouis/Vouvray and Bourgueil
Our tasting of the 2011 whites began with the two wines that are already in bottle – Les Dix Arpents (Montlouis) and Les Caburoches (Vouvray). My preference was for the Vouvray with its great vivacity and length.Then onto Rémus, Rémus Plus and the single vineyard wines – Clos Michet and Clos Mosny (Montlouis) and Clos de la Bretonnière and Clos de Venise (Vouvray).
Jacky is understandably pleased that his 2011s are vivid and lively not lacking the acidity of some 2011s. I was particularly impressed by the volume, texture and purity of the Clos Michet. Although sec, it gives the impression of sucrosity. I also thought that the first vintage of the Clos Mosny was a real success given the poor state of the vineyard when Jacky took it over with vines used to producing a generous and an abundant crop. I thought the Clos Mosny was a little more angular, less generous than the Clos Michet. It will be interesting to see how the wines from here develop over the next few years. My favourite, however, was the one hectare Clos de Venise – a lovely blend of opulent fruit and a lifted vivacious finish.
From the range of 2010s I picked out the beautifully balanced 2010 Rémus and again the Clos de Venise. Tasting 2010 and 2011 whites side by side shows that 2010 is a vintage whose purity and balance will please Loire fanatics with greater staying power than the softer 2011s. We concluded the dry whites with the 1996 Rémus – one of the very early editions of this cuvée. Light gold hue, the 1996 has a lovely savoury, complex character with delicate spice and honey. Although evolving, it shows no sign of tiring.
For the reds of La Butte 2010 is the superior vintage with riper fruit than the more angular 2011 but with more definition and precision than the crowd-pleasing 2009s. Having tasted the full range of La Butte 2011 I picked out Les Perrières and Mi-Pente, while the Pied de la Butte is full of easy drinking red fruits – a wine to drink young and share with friends. The two 2010s we tasted – Haut de la Butte and Mi-Pente – were both very fine with quite a marked floral character. Mi-Pente has great finesse, balance, ripe tannins and length.