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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, 10 February 2014

Post-Salon des Vins de Loire – an update on 2013 vintage

 2013 harvest in Sancerre

Considering the difficulties of the 2013 the vast majority of the wines I have tasted should give considerable pleasure, although it is still early days with few of the wines bottled. Acidity levels are high but for the most part balanced by fruit, although a few of the whites have rasping acidity. This may soften with further time on the lees. The reds have juicy fruit, providing the grapes were picked reasonably ripe with a short cuvaison. Probably 2013 will be largely a vintage for early drinking, especially the reds. Given the acidity the whites may well keep well. But early days ....

Although this may be seen as a positive spin on a difficult vintage, it is not a complete surprise. Tasting the juice from the Pays Nantais to Pouilly during the harvest it was almost invariably clean without any trace of rot despite the prevalence of rot in the vineyards. A very different situation from 2011 when there was acid rot. I'm told that the lack of rotten flavours was down to rot only appearing when the grapes became ripe meaning that if they were picked rapidly there wasn't time for rotten flavours to develop. Certainly tasting rot-affected grapes in the vineyards the grape flesh didn't taste rotten.

As ever my tasting has been selective - a tri - choosing vignerons who make good wine. I have no doubt that, given the conditions of 2013 especially the slow and late ripening allied with the threat of rot, that there are some real horrors lurking out there. In some cases the full horror may well have been alleviated by the use of thermo-vinification. Some domaines will have used a concentrator.

The autumn weather in Anjou was a little kinder than it was in 2012, so a little more sweet wine has been made this year, although certainly not at the quality of 2010 and 2011.

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