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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

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

2013 Loire Vintage: Reuilly, Menetou-Salon and Sancerre

 Claude Lafond's winery on the outskirts of Reuilly

Natalie Lafond 

Claude Lafond tasting the fermenting 2013 Pinot Gris Rosé 

 Philippe Gilbert in the vines 

 Gilbert's Pinot Noir

 Another bunch cut

 Sancerre: above Bué – another procession of white vans carrying pickers

 Vincent Pinard's picking team

A picking machine above Bué, unknown producer
Vincent Grall's garage operation 

 Pickers on the Monts Damnées

Tanker with must arriving@the Bourgeois winery

Yesterday we headed across from Touraine through Reuilly and Menetou-Salon to Sancerre. The harvest in Reuilly has nearly finished, while most people in Sancerre only started on Monday. 

In Reuilly we saw Didier Roux, the chef de cave for Denis Jamain. They are happy with 2013 – their 2012 was badly hit by frost. They would be finishing picking on Thursday. Next stop was to Claude Lafond's impressive winery, which was completed in 2011. 

Claude Lafond: "We started picking on Friday 27th September. The Pinot Gris has a potential of 12.5˚, while the Sauvignon has come in at between 11˚ and 11.5˚. This will be chaptalised* to add 1.0%-1.5% alcohol. The Pinot Noir is around 11.5˚ with between 5-6 acidity and so far is resisting the rot.

As far as the vines in Valançay are concerned, we are waiting. Sébastien Vaillant is in charge there and will decide when we pick. My son in Argentan-sur-Creuse has picked his Gamay, which has come in at 11.2˚. He will pick the Côt tomorrow and then the Cabernet. He has five hectares there.   

(*There will be many Loire producers enriching their musts this year. This will include producers who have not chaptalised for years. 2013 is proving to be a bumper year for the beet farmers of Northern France. Benoît Roumet, director of the Bureau des Vins du Centre, says that he has had several calls for vignerons asking how to fill in the official paperwork to declare that they have used enrichment.)

In Menetou-Salon we saw Philippe Gilbert: "We started yesterday with the Sauvignon Blanc. It's a difficult vintage but in one parcel we have 12.9˚ potential but from a low yield – 25 hl/ha. We have also picked some Pinot Noir." Certainly the Sauvignon we saw awaiting processing looked fine for 2013 with only a small amount of rot and the juice tasted clean with an attractive texture. 

Following Philippe out into the vineyards much of the Pinot Noir we saw looked rot free, although there were some patches with some rot. However, as they hand pick, the rotten grapes can be cut off and discarded and then there also is the sorting process at a sorting table when the grapes arrive at the chai.

Finally on to Sancerre where pickers and picking machines were out in force. It is clear that in some parcels there is quite a lot of rot in the Sauvignon, although, as elsewhere in the Loire, the grapes do not yet taste rotten. (More to follow.)     


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