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Monday, 30 May 2016

The frost report – Loire May 2016

 Vineyard by Chenonceaux railway station 
many of the vines have no growth on them looks like mid-winter 

Speaking to producers at Vitiloire on Saturday it was possible to get a little clearer picture of the effects of this year's frosts at the end of April. Although the night of 26th/27th April saw the worst frost there were a succession of frosts from the 17th/18th April through to the end of the month

Jean-Pierre Gouvazé of InterLoire told me that 70% of this year's crop remained. This reinforces that the April 2016 frosts are not at the same destructive overall level as 1991, when the Loire made only a third of normal. However, some appellations and their producers have been very seriously hit to the extent they have virtually lost their crop. This year the picture is much more variable than it was in 1991. 

Overall it would seem that Anjou was not badly hit. Victor Lebreton (Domaine de Montgilet (Juigné-sur-Loire) said that his loss was around 10% and that the northern part of Anjou around Brisssac-Quince had not been badly affected. However, parts of the Layon, for example Champs-sur-Layon and Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay, had been more affected.  

In Saumur Philippe Elliau, Domaine de la Fuye in Le Puy Notre Dame, told me that this part of Saumur had not been affected. In Saumur-Champigny the damage is more significant around Varrains, Chacé and Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg than in the communes, like Parnay, along the Loire. 

There was further confirmation that a substantial part of Bourgueil, Chinon and Saint Nicolas-de-Bourgueil were very badly affected, especially the flatter parts like the gravel vineyards of Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas as well as Cravant-les-Coteaux and Panzoult in AC Chinon. Whereas Bertrand Couly (Pierre et Bertrand Couly) told me that with their vines around Chinon they had escaped. 

On the south side of the Vienne Ligré Eric Santier (Domaine Dozon, AC Chinon) told me that there was little damage – 10% or less. 

Vineyards around Parcay- Meslay in Vouvray were also serious affected, although overall Vouvray seems to have been less affected than Montlouis, where the damage is worst in the southern part of the appellation around Saint-Martin-le-Beau.  

In the Cher damage is again irregular with some severe damage on the north side of the valley around Chenonceaux and Civray-en-Touraine – see photo of vineyard close to Chenonceaux at the beginning of this post. 

Variable damage in the vineyards of Saint-Georges-sur-Cher:         

St Georges-sur-Cher: Vineyard, in a lower part of Saint Georges
that looks to have suffered some damage 
St Georges-sur-Cher: vineyard up the plateau well above the village
unaffected by the frosts 

Further east in the Cher Valley Jérôme Sauvète in Monthou was hit, while Joël Delaunay at La Tesnière, Pouillé wasn't affected at all.

Benoît Roumet, director of Les Vins du Centre Loire, confirmed that Coteaux du Giennois, Menetou-Salon and parts of Pouilly-Fumé had been badly hit. Quincy was less so, especially where they had wind machines installed, while Châteaumeillant had not been affected because budbreak is later here. 

Philippe Boucard (Lamé Delisle Boucard) said for those hit badly it will be complicated to buy in grapes unless they have a 'carte de négoce' as a recent decision by the Conseil d'Etat upheld the demand by the négoce that grapes can only be bought by holders of a carte de négoce.

Unfortunately the bad weather news isn't over as there is now the threat of hail with very unstable conditions around as May bows out. Romain Paire, Domaine des Pothiers in the Côte Roannaise was hit by hail on Saturday morning (28th May) as were parts of Chablis and Saint-Bris.          

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