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

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Loire 2019 – Saumur, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Bourgueil

Picking La Butte
Picking @Domaine de la Butte, Bourgueil

Some photos and reports from harvest in Saumur, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Bourgueil on 3rd October.

CF-Montée de l'Angle Cher
2019 Cabernet Franc in vineyard along Montée de l'Angle Cher, Saumur 
Above and below

CF - Montée de l'A 
Picture perfect Cabernet Franc

We made a number of visits on Thursday 3rd October to vignerons to see how the 2019 harvest was progressing. The overall message is that 2019 is another quality vintage, that it is a very good vintage for whites with a better balance and freshness than 2018. However, unlike the generous 2018 vintage, 2019 is a small vintage due to a combination of factors – spring frosts, coulure and millerandage during flowering due to wet conditions in early June, drought and grapes being grilled by the sun.

In last week's post I raised the frequency of grapes being frazzled by the heat spikes at the end of June and during July. It would appear that the spike at the end of July caused the most damage. It also seems that Chenin Blanc was more affected by the heat of the sun than Cabernet Franc.  Raising the height of the canopy is one way of providing more protection through increasing the amount of shade compared to vines with a low canopy.

As is often the case there were some who were only just starting – Anthony and Cedric Bonneau (Domaine de la Bonnelière – Saumur and Saumur-Champigny.  They had started that day on picking Cabernet for their rosé and would also be picking their Chenin Blanc for their Saumur Blanc. They had picked grapes destined for their Crémant de Loire between the 22nd and 24th September. However, they would only start picking their Cabernet Franc for Saumur Rouge and Saumur Champigny at the beginning of this week beginning 7th October. In contrast Antoine Sanzay, Jean-Pierre Chevallier (Ch de Villeneuve), Frédéric Mabileau, Yannick Amirault and Philippe Boucard (Lamé Delisle Boucard) were all close to finishing.

Higher foliage

Higher trained vines not only provide more foliage
but also increased shade give further protection against sunburnt grapes

Esca + hi foliage 
Example of higher foliage providing more shade
+ vine suffering from Esca

Chenin grillé 
Chenin Blanc grapes grilled by the sun, Saumur

Picking @Domaine de la Butte, Bourgueil

FredM - CF
Frédéric Mabileau– 2019 Cabernet Franc
again picture perfect fruit

Jean-Paul bunch
Jean-Paul Mabileau (doesn't want to wait for the 2019 wine to be made
– he wants to enjoy the grapes now!

Yannick - maceration 
2019 Cabernet Franc macerating, Domaine Yannick Amirault
Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil

Yannick - barrels + eggs 
Barrels and amphores @Domaine Yannick Amirault

Fred's egg
Frédéric Mabileau and his small egg
containing Chenin Blanc with pips and skins

CB maceration Fred



Antoine Sanzay's renovated cave 

Entrance AS
The entrance to the complex of caves

Antoine S - cave

During our visit to see how 2019 was progressing at Antoine Sanzay (Varrains), he quickly showed his renovated cave. The complex of cellars, part of which was once a dwelling, has for many years existed but now they have been renovated to provide wine storage space. The major work was concreting the floor to make an easy and convenient surface.

AS-Lift shaft
Antoine has installed a lift for easy access for his wine

As Lift housing 
The lift housing 

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