Awards and citations:

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

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 

More to add




Luc Charlier said...

Jim, now and again, you climb into the armour of an investigational journalist. Therefore, the assertion that bulk price of the wines and that of good vineyard land are related in any region should be easy for you to check. I haven’t got the figures but it would be very interesting ! Moreover, it makes sense. This being said, I have a vague feeling – but I’m so far away – that the Montlouis appellation is rather on the way up (recognition, prices, yes even average quality) while Vouvray is slowly losing its past glory, overall. Am I right? That is, if the “politically correct” education and local politics allow you to answer this question. Mind you, I’m a lover of Vouvray and my family has always been connected with lots of Tours people, but still. As you know, I’d rather die of acute Première Trie intoxication rather than dehydration on the slope of Mount Ventoux !

Jim Budd said...

Bonjour Luc. Although it is true that Montlouis is on the way up, this is more in the reputation of the bottled wines. Equally in Vouvray there is still a demand for bulk wine mainly to make sparkling wine, so at the basic level you can make a better living in Vouvray than in Montlouis.

Luc Charlier said...

Thank you, Jim. This kind of item of information is hard to get for those at a distance. I only witnessed estates deciding to quit or colleagues bitterly complaining, on the one hand, and more and more good bottles being offered for sale in Montlouis, on the other hand. But you are right, bulk can make a difference in some places. Here, the average value for AOC is around 110 €/Hl, so you already need to sell the product of A LOT OF hectares to be better off.