Wednesday, 9 October 2013
2013 Loire Vintage: Reuilly, Menetou-Salon and Sancerre
Claude Lafond's winery on the outskirts of Reuilly
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.)