Last Thursday at this benchmark tasting held at Browns Courtrooms in Central London was my first chance since the 2019 vintage when I was able to try some newly pressed grape juice or partially fermented wine. As usual there were plenty of wines to try with the majority, especially the whites and rosés, coming from the 2019 vintage with very few finished and bottled.
Overall is that 2019, although climatically a difficult vintage – frost, wet and cold during part of the flowering, heat spikes and drought, is yet another quality Loire vintage. Quantity for some, especially to the west of Tours, is another story. Although there are a few wines with high alcohol levels, this tasting appears to confirm my impression formed during the harvest that 2019 is a well balanced vintage less rich than 2018 but with more freshness.
It was good to see the excellent wines of Romain Paire's Domaine de Pothiers in the Roannaise getting the attention they deserve. Incredibly these wines are not yet imported into the UK. Following this tasting I expect this to change pretty rapidly. Although the vineyards of the Upper Loire are widely scattered and small, I am convinced that they are well worth exploring.
It was also interesting to taste the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (IGP Côtes de la Charité) from Grebet Père et Fils (Domaine des Rabichattes).