2013 is probably the most difficult recent Loire vintage – a very cold spring with flowering delayed until towards mid to late June. A hot July and August averted disaster but picking even in the Pays Nantais didn't start until late September.
It is difficult vintages that show who are the really good producers. Almost any fool can make a decent wine in 2018, especially regarding reds. In contrast to make a very fine red in 2013 is impressive. The 2013 Charlouise Sancerre Red from Vincent Pinard is a wonderful example of a domaine being on top of its game in a testing vintage. Not forgetting, of course, that in difficult vintages coaxing good quality out of Pinot Noir is much more of a challenge than it is for Sauvignon Blanc.
The Pinot Noir vines from Charlouise are planted on clay limestone and are on average 50 years old with yields around 30 hl/ha. The grapes are picked by hand and the wine is aged in a mix of barrels and wooden conical vats. Time in wood varies between 11 and 18 months depending on the vintage. My guess is that the 2013 spent closer to 11 months in wood than 18. The 2013 Charlouise has that seductive, silky texture that makes Pinot Noir such as sought after magical wine at its best.
Very impressive given the vintage.