Saturday, 28 June 2014
With James Millton (Millton Vineyards, NZ) in the Loire (21.6.2014) – part 3
James Millton with Jacky Blot (Domaine de la Taille aux Loups)
Saturday morning was spent with Jacky Blot. Again the emphasis was very much on visiting vineyards with just a little time at the end to taste a few 2013 Montlouis and Vouvrays from barrel. We started with Jacky's Vouvray vineyards – the Clos de la Bretonnière and the Clos de Venise.
Although I have regularly visited Jacky's vines in Montlouis along with Domaine de la Butte in Bourgueil this was the first time I had managed to get to his Vouvray vineyards. I had been due to visit them in April but the day chosen turned out to be wet and unpleasant, so we postponed it.
Clos de la Bretonnière is a four-hectare plot in Noizay on clay, which makes it difficult to work. Clay rapidly goes from being too heavy and claggy to work if its is too wet to rock hard if it is too dry – it is rarely a happy medium. Hirtherto Jacky has rented the vines but as the château attached to the Clos has now been sold he is now able to buy the Clos, which he is the process of doing. Prices of vineyards in Vouvray remain substantially higher than those in Montlouis. Jacky is convinced that there is a close correlation between the price of an appellation's bulk wine and the price of their vineyards. A hectolitre of bulk wine in Vouvray is about three times the price of Montlouis, so land is correspondingly more expensive.
We then moved onto the Clos de Venise at Vernou-sur-Brenne. This is a one-hectare monopole on clay and flint making the soil lighter and easier to work. Both Bretonnière and Venise are on the premier côtes overlooking the Loire. This is where the best sites in Vouvray are, whether all of the premier côtes fulfil their potential is, of course, another matter.
Jacky Blot in the Clos de Venise, Vernou (above and below)
Flowering nearly finished with an even
and quick set in ideal conditions
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