Tuesday, 7 October 2014
2014 Loire: Vouvray 7th October
Yesterday afternoon we had a quick spin around the western part of AC Vouvray – Rochecorbon, Parçay-Meslay and Vouvray itself visiting Alexandre Monmousseau (Château Gaudrelle), Benoît Gautier (Domaine de la Châtaigneraie), Catherine, Céline and Didier Champalou (Domaine Champalou) and Bernard Fouquet (Domaine des Aubuisières) .
The arrival of rain – firstly on last Saturday evening, Monday afternoon and today – has inevitably changed sentiment. Last week there was some talk (rather premature, I fancy, given the weather in July and August) that 2014 might be the equivalent of 2005 and 2009. Producers could be relaxed and choose the best time to pick. Now it is more a question of getting the crop in. "It's not the year we hoped it would be," said Alexandre Monmousseau. Benoît Gautier mentioned 2006 – the year of the race to get the crop in before the rot got the grapes.
None of the four we visited thought it worth waiting – the grapes were ripe, so time to press on. The forecast is not good – further rain and mild nights, so favourable conditions for rot. The photos of grapes below show mainly noble rot but wet, humid conditions can quickly change this into grey rot, especially in parcels prone to rot.
From 2014 there will be sparkling, sec with probably some demi-sec made. A little sweet wine may be a possibility with Alexandre, for instance, leaving some grapes in on the vine to see what happens but all will, of course, depend upon the weather. The Loire really needed the fine weather of September and the first few days of October to continue for another week to ten days. Sadly this has not been the case. However, all the 2014 juice that I tasted was very clean with texture and body and good acidity in the finish. It seems promising though I cannot predict how it will turn out. Bernard Fouquet had grapes coming in at 13.2% potential.
Yields are around 40 hl/ha. Very irregular according to Bernard Fouquet – some parcels as low as 25 hl/ha and some close to 60 hl/ha. He thinks one the factors is last year's hailstorm on 17th June. Vines affected have had a year off, so have produced more.
Rather snatched photo of Alexandre Monmousseau
@Gaudrelle's premises, Rochecorbon
Cyril Nénin – Alexandre's chef de cave
Muddy going @Benoît Gautier's winery (Parçay-Meslay) after rain on Saturday evening,
Monday afternoon and evening and today
However, Benoît is well pleased with the clarity and
quality of the juice (11.6% potential) despite the rain and it being machine harvested
Yields around 40 hl/ha
Benoît among the vats
Harvest scene@the Champalous
Céline and Didier Champalou busy cleaning up at the end of the day
Grapes up on the plateau @Vouvray
(above and below)
Still on the Vouvray plateau but
closer to the Premier Côte
(above and below)
On the Premier Côte just above the Vallée Chartier, Vouvray
Below grapes from this parcel of vines