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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

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

#2015Loire – Chinon's biggest players prefer to wait

 Bunches of Cabernet Franc near Panzoult (AC Chinon)

Chinon's two biggest players – Baudry-Dutour and Couly-Dutheil – are in no rush to harvest their reds. At Baudry-Dutour their IGT Sauvignon from 11 hectares at Ligré is picked as is some of the Chenin Blanc for the Chinon Blanc and sparkling while Cabernet Franc for the rosé was picked on 21st September. 

"We are not yet ready for the reds," said Jean-Martin Dutour. "We will start on the classic reds from next Monday (4th October) but our top reds from Saint Louans and La Grille won't be started until around 12th October."  

"Yields are a bit higher than last year," Christophe Baudry explained, "probably around 45hl/ha compared to 40hl/ha last year but certainly not the maximum allowed.  

The situation at Couly-Dutheil is very similar. "We have picked some of the Chenin," said Jacques Couly but are waiting until next week to start on the reds and rosés. We expect full maturity around 10th-12th October with yields a little up on last year. 

Across the Vienne at Ligré Jérôme Billard (Domaine de la Noblaie) is waiting for the reds to ripen. "We picked some of the Chenin – those grapes that were fragile and starting to rot – on 21st September and started on the rosé yesterday. 

In contrast Matthieu Baudry (Domaine Bernard Baudry, Cravant-les-Coteaux) is in full harvest mode and expects to finish this week. "We started picking Cabernet Franc on 23rd September, having picked the Chenin on 21st and 22nd. When we started the potential alcohol in the Cabernet Franc was 11.5 to 12 now it is between 12-13. We don't want the grape sugars to get too concentrated. It is important to keep the freshness of the Loire and this North East wind threatens to shrivel (flétri) the grapes.  

Interesting to see the contrast in picking dates both within Chinon and in comparison to vineyards – Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil north of the Loire.   

Jean-Martin Dutour (Baudry-Dutour) 
and President of the Chinon producers

Jacques Couly (Couly-Dutheil)
Arnaud Couly (Couly-Dutheil) 

Jérôme Billard (Domaine de la Noblaie)

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