Friday, 31 July 2009
Chinon Marché Médiéval and Panzoult Fête du Village
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Weather and vine update plus a health scare
Here is quick but not comprehensive round up:
There was some damage in Pouillé but probably more in Angé and then on the north side of the Cher between Monthou and Thesée. I understand that Jean-François Merieau (Vignobles des Bois Vaudons, Saint-Julien-de-Chédon) was amongst those hit. It was mainly his Gamay with some blocks suffering 80% damage with the overall damage estimated at around 20%. Fortunately the Sauvignon Blanc wasn't affected.
Thierry Delaunay (Domaine Joël Delaunay) reports:
Mais apparement, le gros de la grêle n'était plus très loin. Effectivement un peu plus loin sur la commune de Pouillé vers Angé les dégâts étaient spectaculaires dans certaines parcelles de mes collégues. Comme en hiver!! L'orage de grêle était donc de Saint-Julien de Chédon jusqu'à Pouillé "Ouest" en passant par Angé. Il a traversé le Cher et a frappé entre Monthou et Thésée.
Vendredi dernier, il y a eu un nouvel orage avec une petite grêle très courte mais virulente. Nous avons eu des impactes sur certaines parcelles mais rien à voir avec l'orage du 16.
Voilà, vivement les vendanges ! Sans oublier un peu de vacances d'ici 15 jours !!
Didier Barrouillet (Clos Roche Blanche)
Vincent Roussely, Clos Roussely
(Vincent reports that his vines in Angé suffered 40% damage from the hail, while those in Saint-Georges weren't affected. He hopes that 2009 will see the end of the trio of three difficult years.)
The news from Anjou – at least from Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay and Brissac-Quincé – is very different as here there has been virtually no rain since early June.
Christophe Daviau, Domaine de Bablut
The vines are looking superb and the grapes are very homogeneous – all about the same size. It is very dry here – a little rain would be good just 10-15 mm. This would help the grapes to ripen because if it stays dry like this there is a danger that the vines will shut down and the grapes will stop ripening. I expect the véraison (when the grapes begin to change colour) to start in about 15 days. Most of the grass has gone all yellow – as though we had used weedkiller. Not the case of course as Christophe is bio-dynamic.
It is still too early to tell but the harvest for the early ripening varieties will probably start around 15th September – a little bit earlier than last year.
Vincent Ogereau, Domaine Ogereau
The vines are beautiful – our team of workers finished working on them yesterday before the summer holidays – deleafing and thinning out. We don't have any bunches touching each other – all are spaced out. The vines are very healthy as we have had no rain since early June – 40mm fell that month and much of this on Monday 8th June. There have been storms but they have all been to the north of Angers. It was important to thin out the Chenin crop as some of our parcels had too big a crop – not surprising as last year was a small vintage. The harvest will probably start around mid-September but we will have to see.
While we chatted Vincent revealed that he had had a brain tumour removed in May and is now recovering. Fortunately it wasn't malignant and Vincent is now making a good recovery and hopes to be fit for the harvest.
Jérôme Choblet, Domaine des Herbauges
Another happy vigneron reporting that although mildew has been a problem this year it is under control, although everyone has had to work very hard in the vineyards. Recently there has been a little oidium in the Chardonnay but again this is under control. They are continuing to expect a normal sized harvest and to start picking around 10th-15th September depending on the weather.
Do I need to speak French?
My response?: lack of French can be a problem but many producers now speak some English and some very well as they have worked abroad. It is always worth making an effort to speak French as it is appreciated.
I think it is remarkable how far it is possible for people who have the same interest but don't share the same language can manage to communicate. However, there is no doubt that if you can speak French when visiting producers in the Loire you will learn much more. There are the subtleties of language that get lost in translation. The important thing is to try to speak – irrespective of how many mistakes you make – it is the only way to learn, although it is tiring and requires concentration.
I pleased that when I started to write about wine at the end of 1988 I made a special effort to improve my pretty limited French. When speaking to French people I would refuse to speak English, even though their English was way better than my French at the time. I clearly remember one day when it clicked and I discovered I had the confidence to change what I was saying if it wasn't working. Rather like that moment when you find you can ride a bike or swim.
For my work I have have found it hugely useful to be able to speak French whether it is face to face or on the phone. Now if I'm in a country where I either don't speak the language or I only have a few words I find it frustrating during a visit to a wine producer with an interpreter because I know that only about half (at best) of what the producer says gets translated and sometimes wrongly.
There are also nowadays a number of producers who speak English, particularly the younger generation either because they have made wine in California, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand etc. or because they travel to English speaking countries exporting their wines without forgetting the influence of American films and TV.
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Millésime Bio 2010 Montpellier + Les Vins du Coin 2009 December (?)
Although I don't have a list of exhibitors at the moment, there is usually a strong contingent from the Loire including Thierry Michon (the much travelled Fiefs Vendéen producer), Agnes and René Mosse (Anjou), Joseph Landron (Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine, Hervé Villemade (Cheverny), François Plouzeau (Touraine), Vincent Girault (Touraine-Mesland) and Vincent Gaudry (Sancerre).
Millésime Bio is only open to the trade.
Details - press release:
'17th edition: 25, 26 & 27 Jan. 2010 - Montpellier Exhibition Centre
Millésime Bio confirms that the 2010 edition will be held in Montpellier.
- 354 exhibitors: winegrowers and merchants (annual increase of 27%) coming from South Africa, Germany, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania.
1700 professional visitors, mostly from Europe, Northern America and Japan, representing 700 wine buying companies (annual increase of 50% ). In total, 31 countries (other than France) were represented, including 14 non-EU countries.
Building on the 2009 success which gave the fair a global audience, Millésime Bio 2010 will host more than 400 exhibitors (winegrowers and wine merchants) at the Exhibition Center in Montpellier.
Millésime Bio is:
a trade fair established by the Inter-professional Association of Organic Wines from Languedoc-Roussillon (AIVB-LR), and tailored to wine professionals' needs, a focal point for the organic wine offer from all wine making regions and countries, the presentation platform for the year's new vintage,
a unique concept: ready-made, identical stands, the wine alone makes the difference!
(so none of my stand's bigger than yours syndrome found in other fairs - Jim)
Challenge Millésime Bio: the international organic wine contest
The 3rd edition of Challenge Millésime Bio is an important event not to be missed!
Further details on www.millesime.bio.com. This site does, however, claim that the fair is still taking place in Perpignan.
•••Les Vins du Coin 2009: Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th December
Following Noella's message Les Vins du Coin will be on 5th and 6th December but this year at the Haras de Blois. Hopefully the location that comes up on Google maps is the right one!
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Epeigné-les-Bois: some photos
Also a good time to remind owners of websites etc. that my photos are copyrighted and that if you wish to use them on your site you will need permission and there may well be a charge.
Monday, 27 July 2009
Stéphane Cossais is dead
I last saw Stéphane at Les Caves de Pyréne's London tasting at the end of April, when he seemed very well, fit and full of fun.
Stéphane was one of a number of newcomers to Montlouis, whose presence has made this such an exciting and dynamic appellation. He was very critical of his wines and determined to be complete true to his vision of how his wines should be. Stéphane concentrated on making dry whites of great purity and brilliant precision. The pain of his death is accentuated by the conviction that the best was yet to come – a feeling of great promise that will now never be fulfilled. My profile of Stéphane is here.
I'm trying to confirm this terrible news and will naturally be delighted if this turns out to be a mistake. (This turned out to be a false hope.)
Sadly Micaela and Sue's post has confirmed that Stéphane did indeed die on Saturday. He was just 42. Apparently he was taking part in a walking race. Report on Omnivore here.
Further comment on Stéphane's death:
Fellow Montlouis producers – Les Loges-de-la-Folie
Cuisine en ligne with a video interview with Stéphane
My condolences to Stéphane's family.
The funeral will be on Thursday (30th July) in Montlouis at 15.00. I understand that his Montlouis friends will continue to look after Stéphane's vines and will do the 2009 vintage. Apparently Flore, his partner from whom Stéphane was separated, may take over running the small domaine.
Château de Brézé and Les Lamberts
Sunday, 26 July 2009
List of most stage wins in the Tour de France (updated version)
The most Tour de France stage victories
The top 12
34: Eddy Merckx (Bel)
28: Bernard Hinault (Fra)
25: André Leducq (Fra)
22: André Darrigade (Fra) (sprinter)
22: Lance Armstrong (USA)
20: Nicolas Frantz (Lux)
19: Francois Faber (Lux)
17: Jean Alavoine (Fra)
16: Jacques Anquetil (Fra)
16: Charles Pelissier (Fra)
16: Rene Le Greves (Fra)
16: Freddy Maertens (Bel) *
Others– selected names
13: Philippe Thys (Bel)
12: Mario Cipollini (It)
12: Miguel Indurain (Esp)
12: Robbie McEwen (Aus)
12: Erik Zabel (Ger)
11: Jean Aerts (Bel)
11: Louison Bobet (Fr)
10: Mark Cavendish (UK)
10: Charly Gaul (Fr)
10: Walter Godefroot (Bel)
10: Gerrie Knetemann (Hol)
10: Antonin Magne (Fr)
10: Jan Raas (Hol)
10: Joop Zoetemelk (Hol)
9: Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (Uzb)
9: Gino Bartali (It)
9: Ottavio Bottecchia (Ita)
9: Fausto Coppi (It)
9: Lucien van Impe (Bel)
9: Sylvère Maes (Bel)
9: Eloi Meulenberg (Bel)
9: Luis Ocaña (Esp)
9: Georges Speicher (Fr)
9: Tom Steels (Bel)
8: Rudi Altig (Ger)
8: Barry Hoban (UK)
8: Ferdinand (Ferdi)Kübler (Hev)
8: Marco Pantani (It)
7: Federico Bahamontes (Sp)
7: Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (Fr)
7: Laurent Fignon (Fr)
7: Raphaël Géminiani (Fr)
7: Laearco Guerra (It)
7: Cyrille Guimard (Fr)
7: Jan Janssen (Hol)
7: Fiorenzo Magni (It)
7: Lucien Petit-Breton (Fr)
7: Raymond Poulidor (Fr)
7: Jan Ullrich (Ger)
7: Richard Virenque (Fr)
6: Marino Basso (It)
6: Tom Boonen (Bel)
6: Felice Gimondi (It)
6: Thor Hushovd (Nor)
6: Firmin Lambot (Bel)
6: Greg Lemond (US)
6: Rik van Looy (Bel)
6: Thierry Marie (Fr) ***
6: Jean Robic (Fr)
6: Didi Thurau (Ger)
5: Phil Anderson (Aus)
5: Sean Kelly (Irl)
5: Marcel Kint (Bel)
5: Hugo Koblet (Swi)
5: Julio Jiménez (Esp)
5: Herman van Springel (Bel)
5: Jean Stablinski (Fr)
4: Gianni Bugno (It)
4: Fabien Cancellara (Hel)
4: Alberto Contador (Esp)
4: Pedro Delgado (Esp)
4: Erik Dekker (Hol)
4: Óscar Freire (Esp)
4: George Hincapié (US)**
4: Laurent Jalabert (Fr)
4: Alessandro Petacchi (It)
4: Jaan Kirsipuu (Est)
4: Dimitri Konyshev (Rus)
4: Rik Van Linden (Bel)
4: Charly Mottet (Fr)
4: Gastone Nencini (It)
4: Michael Rasmussen (Den)
4: Lucien Teisseire (Fr)
4: Rik Van Steenbergen (Bel)
3: Jeroen Blijlevens (Hol)
3: Chris Boardman (UK)
3: Santiago Botero (Col)
3: Claudio Chiappucci (It)
3: Jacky Durand (Fr)
3: Maurice Garin (Fr)
3: Luis Herrera (Col)
3: Hennie Kuiper (Hol)
3: David Millar (UK)
3: Robert Millar (UK)
3: Nicola Minali (It)
3: Stan Ockers (Bel)
3: Stephen Roche (Irl)
3: Tony Rominger (Den)
3: Carlos Sastre (Esp)
3: Ján Svorada (Slov)
3: Alejandro Valverde (Esp)
3: Alexander Vinokourov (Rus)
3: Peter Winnen (Hol)
2: Phil Anderson (Aus)
2: Moreno Argentin (It)
2: Alfredo Binda (It)
2: Franco Bitossi (It)
2: Pierrick Fédrigo (Fr)
2: Giuseppe Guerini (It)
2: Sergei Ivanov (Rus)
2: Luc Leblanc (Fr)
2: Mariano Martínez (Fr)
2: Bradley McGee (Aus)
2: Johan Museeuw (Bel)
2: Stuart O'Grady (Aus)
2: Eddy Planckaert (Bel)
2: Willy Planckaert (Bel)
2: Adrie van der Poel (Hol)
2: Filippo "Pipo" Pozzato (It)
2: Bjarne Riis (Den)
2: Brian Robinson (UK)
2: Steven Rooks (Hol)
2: Frank Schleck (Lux)
2: Rolf Sørensen (Den)
2: Gert Steegmans (Bel)
2: Cédric Vasseur (Fr)
2: Jens Voigt (Ger)
2:Alex Zülle (Hel)
1: Sean Yates (UK)
Only Charles Pelissier, Eddy Merckx and Freddy Maertens have won eight stages in a single Tour.
• Freddy Maertens was (still is?) a great collector of fine Bordeaux.
** includes three Team Time Trial victories
*** includes a stage victory in Tours
Yves and Arnaud Lambert: Domaine de Saint-Just
They now have 42 hectares of vines and at the beginning of 2009 they started to convert eight of these to organic viticulture. The Lamberts have also recently concluded a 50/50 agreement with the Comte de Colbert of Château de Brézé to run their 24 hectares of vines. Although the Château de Brézé makes red Saumur (Cabernet Franc), it is best known for its whites from Chenin Blanc as are much of the vineyards around Brézé. It is here that both the Foucault brothers and Antoine Foucault have their Chenin Blanc planted.
Like so many producers in the Loire, 2008 was a small harvest. "Our average yield was 35 hl/ha last year," says Arnaud. "The ideal figure for us is between 45-50 hl/ha."
We taste various 2008s reds and whites mainly from barrel. Probably due to his commercial background Yves has always understood the need to make his red wines soft, attractive and approachable. This shows in the 2008 Saumur-Champigny range from the Yves Lambert through the more concentrated and structured Terres Rouges and onto the top red – Clos Moleton, which is matured in 500 litre barrels with a mix of new, one year and two year old barrels. Coulée de Saint Cyr, their top Saumur Blanc, has 10%-15% of new oak. The 2008 barrel sample had attractive apricot and white flower flavours.
Then on to their successful Crémant de Loire, which is proving to be very popular in China. 20 hectares is given over to the production of Crémant in the sandy vineyards around Saint-Dive. The blend is 60% Chenin Blanc and 40% Chardonnay, which spends two years sur latte resulting in an attractively citric, fresh and delicate sparkling wine with good length. They also make a creamy, strawberry flavoured Crémant Rosé – a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The blackberry and raspberry L'Ardoisier, a méthode traditionelle rouge, completes the sparkling line up. It is soft with a hint of vanilla.The Lamberts recommend it with chocolate, vanilla ice cream and red fruits.
Then a look at some still wines including the precise 2006 Coulée de Saint-Cyr (Saumur Blanc), although it has less weight than the 2008. The 2008 Les Terres Rouges (bottled at the end of April) is sooty, slightly herbal and with a touch or two of green pepper on the finish. The black fruited 2007 Montée des Roches has more concentration – 50% matures in three and four use barrels, with 50% in vat. The 2007 Clos Moleton is soft, rich and concentrated and long, although a little cloying – probably needs more time in bottle.
We finish the tasting at the winery with the fine, rich 2005 Coteaux de Saumur – a mix of apricot and ripe citric fruit, especially orange peel. This is only made in favourable vintages – 1997, 1999 and 2001 were the previous vintages, although 2001 wasn't put on the market.
Then it's on to the amazing troglodyte cellars that they have at their home in Saint-Cyr, which date from the 12th century. Here we taste a couple of vintages of the Coulée de Saint-Cyr – 2004 and 2000. I particularly liked the balance of rich, honeyed fruit and freshness in the 2004, which demonstrates that the best years for Loire dry whites are often the difficult vintages. Finally two vintages of Clos Moleton – 2002 and 2005. The 2002 quite classic Loire with pencil shavings and freshness, while the 2005 is as you would expect considerably weightier, more concentrated and needing some more time.
I look forward to seeing how the Lamberts' new venture with the Château de Brézé develops.
Reminder: garlic and basil fair@Tours today
Unfortunately all the garlic producers are over the age of retirement – apparently there are no youngsters coming up to take their place.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Delecheneau: La Grange Tiphaine report finished
Sancerre and Bourges; two micro-breweries
Brasserie Sancerroise, 258 Route d'Amigny, à Sancerre. Tél. 02.48.54.29.91. Ouverte du mardi au samedi et le dimanche pendant l'été. Visites de groupes sur rendez-vous.
Brasserie La Crécelle, 155, Route de la Charité, à Bourges. Tél. 02.48.70.34.71.
La Crécelle's site is here
Friday, 24 July 2009
Two summer spectaculars@Montrichard
This year Montrichard has two summer spectaculars based around its donjon. The programme starts this Saturday (25th) and runs through to 15th August.
Amaury, fils du Dragon is performed every day at 4pm, while 1249 - Fées et Chevaliers is performed on a limited number of evenings, starting at 10pm. See details below:
Amaury, Fils du Dragon, nouveau spectacle de 45 minutes, écrit et mis en scène par Laurent Tixier, est l'histoire d'un enfant qui pour venger la mort de son père devra affronter toutes les embûches d'un monde fantastique révolu : Le Moyen Age.
Dans la fraîcheur d'une scène boisée, venez assister à des combats médiévaux virtuoses, proposés par la troupe des "Chevaliers de la Couronne de Bohème", ponctués par des danses anciennes proposées par les enfants de la troupe des bénévoles de Montrichard .....
Tous les jours, du 25 juillet au 15 août, à 16h 8€ par adulte, 5€ de 6 à 12 ans, 7 € pour les groupes
1249 - Fées et Chevaliers, vous est proposé dans le magnifique site du Donjon
de Montrichard. 120 bénévoles, la troupe des chevaliers de la Couronne de Bohème ainsi que des acteurs professionnels, vous interprètent l'histoire des hommes et de leurs
relations avec le merveilleux. Un spectacle magique à découvrir en famille .....
"1249 - Fées et Chevaliers"
13 représentations, les 25, 26, 29, 31 juillet, 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9,12, 14, 15 août
à 22h: 15€ par adulte, 8€ de 6 à 12 ans, 12€ pour les groupes
Combined tickets: Billets groupés pour les deux spectacles:
Further details from the Office de Tourisme, Montrichard
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Screwcaps – making surprising progress in the home of cork
It's now well over three years since Florent Baumard became the first top quality Loire producer to opt to bottle his wines in screwcap. While the move to screwcaps in the Loire continues to be fairly slow, less slow amongst the négociants, agreed, but slow with many individual producers, it has now made surprising progress in Portugal – the heartland of the world's cork industry. This morning I was surprised to see a half bottle of Mateus Rosé sealed with a screwcap. Admittedly full sized bottles on sale were still closed with a cork but presumably these will move in time to screwcap too.
If Sogrape now feel comfortable to use screwcaps on Mateus in Portugal, when will producers in Sancerre, Pouilly and, especially, Muscadet follow suit? After all it is now nearly 10 years since the Clare Valley Riesling producers set off the screwcap revolution in 2000.
Rendez-vous dans le vignoble 2009 – another date + Grand Prix Rétro le Puy
Mardi 4 août – 15h
'Vacances en Vigne'
Découvrez le métier de vigneron et son travail au quotidien. Une balade dans les vignes à la recherche d’indices vous permettra de vous interroger sur la vigne, le vin et la viticulture.
Une dégustation de jus de raisin et des vins du domaine vous donnerons des réponses à vos interrogations…
Rendez-vous au Domaine du Pont du Livier, chez Flore et Emmanuel Rialland à Saint Georges sur Layon.
8 €/ personne, gratuit pour les enfants.
Le Puy: church and cherry tree
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
La Grange Tiphaine
PS I'm afraid today's stage was far too exciting to allow me to add any more to the report. However, I am now working on it.
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Saumur-Champigny: les Grandes Tablées – 5 and 6 August
More information here.
5 et 6 août 2009
Saumur, Place de la République, 19h30, la table est dressée au coeur de la ville pour plus de 10 000 convives !
Ambiance au programme : rock, chansons françaises et populaires, flamenco... Repas autour des produits du terroir, dégustation de Saumur Champigny bien-sûr, le tout orchestré par les producteurs de l'appellation.
Alors si vous voulez participer à La Grande Tablée version 2009, réservez vos places dès maintenant !Plus de détails ici.
More summer wine events in the Loire here.
Monday, 20 July 2009
Brief recent weather update
Here is a brief report from Mark Robertson, gentleman-rocker of Epeigné-les-Bois and who has the commune's only 'grand-cru' vineyard:
'Don’t know if you were aware but we had quite a storm the night of 16th/17th July. There was some hail, which caused slight damage to the vines of Chossay and it’s neighbours (around 1% to 2% of grapes sustained damage). Les Doumees apparently bore the brunt of the hail in Epeigne with up to 50% of crops wiped out. I’m not aware of any structural damage or whether there was hail damage in other vineyard areas in the region. Charente and Charente-Maritime apparently suffered 60% destruction over 1,500 hectares.
More storms are forecast for tomorrow evening.'
Unfortunately Meteo-France is also forecasting storms in Indre-et-Loire on Thursday evening. Fortunately although the effects of hail can be devastating it tends to be localised – generally far more than frost.
July dates for: Rendez-vous dans le vignoble 2009 en Anjou
Jeudi 23 juillet à 15h
Domaine de Juchépie, Faye d'Anjou, Maine et Loire
8 €/personne, gratuit pour les enfants.
Mardi 28 juillet à 15h
Les vignes du Château de Bellevue
Cette merveilleuse demeure du XIXème siècle appartient à la famille Tijou depuis 5 générations. Partagez la passion du métier de vigneron et dégustez le cépage « Chenin » à travers quatre grandes appellations : Chaume, Coteaux du Layon, Savennières et Anjou Blanc. Une belle balade entre histoire, patrimoine et grands crus !
Rendez-Vous au Château de Bellevue, Chez Anne Et Hervé Tijou à Saint Aubin de Luigné.
8 €/personne, gratuit pour les enfants.
More details from: www.rendezvousdanslevignoble.com
Garlic week: Bourgueil (21st) and Tours (26th)
Then on Sunday 26th July there is the annual Foire à l’ail et au basilic in Les Halles, Tours. The fair runs all day from 9am in the morning to 9pm in the evening. Further details here.
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Didier Barrouillet and a cure for esca? – Wine Terroirs
I was aware, and Bertrand's article confirms this, that Didier, like Claude Papin and others, has grave doubts about turning the soil over and thus destroying its profile.
Didier is nearing retirement – he and Catherine Roussel have reduced the size of Le Clos Roche Blanche to nine hectares – and he intends to concentrate on his work in the vineyard. It would be good to see Didier set up a website or a blog to spread his ideas and findings to a wider audience.
See also here comments on Bertrand's article on the Clos du Porteau blog – Aynard is very concerned by the threat that esca poses to his Sauvignon Blanc.
Also a very brief report here on the Porteau blog on Esprit Vif held yesterday at Château des Couldraies in Saint-Georges-sur-Cher. It appears to have been a success.
(This post was originally tacked onto the my previous post but I think it makes more sense to post this separately.)
Saturday, 18 July 2009
French wine sales down the pan and new rules for vin de table
'Zut alors! French wine sales go down the drain
So why have we stopped buying their wines? French wine sales have dropped 6.5 per cent in the last year, says the new edition of trade magazine Off-Licence News.'
Read the rest here.
See also report on agrisalon on significant falls in the sales of vins de pays and vins de table.
Le conseil spécialisé vins de France Agri Mer a voté jeudi 16 juillet à l’unanimité le nouveau cahier des charges des vins sans indication géographique avec mention de cépage et de millésime, nouvelle catégorie qui entre en vigueur le 1er août de cette année, donc pour la récolte 2009.
Le conseil spécialisé a choisi de donner à cette catégorie le moins de contraintes possibles, pour minimiser les coûts des entreprises et leur donner de ce fait des atouts sur les marchés d’exportation. Il n’y a donc pas de rendement maximal prévu, mais quelques contraintes ont été fixées par rapport aux vins sans IG simples. Les metteurs en marché seront identifiés par France Agri Mer sur simple demande, et le respect du cahier des charges sera vérifié de façon documentaire, au vu des analyses visant à prouver que la présence des cépages et des millésimes allégués est bien réelle dans les bouteilles. Il n’y aura cependant pas de contrôle de la qualité des produits et pas d’examen organoleptique.'
So no limits on the amount you can produce and no tasting control, although given some of the rubbish that gets through the appellation contrôlée agrément tastings ................. All the producers have to prove is that the bottles contain the grape varieties and the vintage claimed on the label. This all seems clear enough – just as well as the new EU wide category comes into force on the 1st August.
But, hang on, this is the French wine industry and things are never as straightforward:
'Si ce cadre permet dès 2009 de produire ces vins, certaines zones d’ombre persistent encore. D’une part, l’Alsace, la Savoie et le Jura ont demandé à ce que les noms de leurs cépages locaux ne puissent être présents sur les étiquettes de vins sans IG. La décision sera prise par le ministère de l’Agriculture au vu des conclusions demandées à Jérôme Despey, président du conseil spécialisé vins de France Agri Mer. D’autre part, le nom de cette nouvelle catégorie de vin n’est pas encore déterminé, l’expression « vin de France » prévue par les réglements européens étant contestée par les producteurs de vins avec IG, qui ne veulent pas que cette formule, utilisée d’autre part pour la communication générale des vins français, ne soit accaparée par une catégorie. Pour l’heure, la question n’étant pas réglée, on peut commencer à faire des vins sans IG avec noms de cépages et de millésimes en utilisant la mention « vin de France ».'
Full article here.
Certain French regions – notably Alsace, Jura and Savoie object to these new wines being able to put the names of their local varieties on the label. Although I can see that the name Riesling, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris even Gewurztraminer on a label may well help to sell the wine, I struggle to think that Mondeuse – a red variety from Savoy – or Savagnin – a white from the Jura – is going to help to shift any additional bottles. In any case what producer of high volume sans IG (there doesn't appear to be a convenient abbreviation here, so I'll go for SIG from now on) is going to use either Mondeuse or Savagnin?
The second objection to the use of the name vin de France by IG producers (ie what used to be called vins de pays) – could well prove to be more troublesome. These are the producers who have already had the designation 'vignoble de France or vin de pays de France' annulled in the French courts and sunk the earlier attempt – cèpages de France – to allow multi-regional blending.
What the legal objection to vin de France is I can't imagine, assuming that the SIG wine comes from France, but that probably won't stop a recourse to the law. You see echoes here of the hysteria that surrounded the perfectly sensible proposal to allow the blending of red and white wine to make rosé. It would be good to see the French Ministry of Agriculture throw both of these objections out but given the abject surrender by the Europe Commission to the pressure from rosé producers I fear they will crumble too.
I'm not surprised that French wines have suffered recently in the UK – the sudden drop is the sterling-euro rate certainly hasn't helped. Many price lists are sent out at the beginning of the year and were set when sterling was at its weakest. Several UK importers told me during this year's Salon de Vins de Loire that French producers were about to lose a substantial part of the UK market.
This may, of course, not be entirely bad news as Jérôme Chobet of Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu has discovered: his sales in the Chinese market are growing fast and they treat Muscadet as a grand vin. How solid a market China turns out to be remains to be seen. Cognac has found Asia-Pacific, especially Japan, to be a notorious fickle market but wine is not the same as spirits...........
One interesting aspect of the new SIG category is that it appeals to small, producers of individual wines like Mark Angeli in Anjou, Pascal Potaire in Touraine and others, who despair of the AC system refusal to say anything about looking after vineyards in a sustainable manner. A system that is full of rules about what grape varieties you can plant, etc. based on apparent typicity, but which permits the widespread use of an armoury of chemicals, which may or may not be fatal for the long-term life of the soils.
Fête@Chenonceaux: Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th July
Dimanche 19 juillet: A partir de 8.00: antiquités-brocante, randonnée pédestre, repas le midi, exposition métiers artistiques/artisanaux, concours du meilleur mangeur de boudin, orchestre bavarois et Duo Corazon@15.00
On the programme
Today: evening walk, 19.30: repas champêtre, stalls, dancing and fireworks
Sunday: Jumble sale from 8am – antiques (maybe!) quality of a brocante can be very variable, walk, lunch, exhibition by artists and artisans, competition to see who can stuff down their throats the most boudin noir in the shortest possible time, Bavarian orchestra@3pm
Friday, 17 July 2009
Sancerre, especially Chavignol: late October 2006
View from Sancerre towards Verdigny
From Sancerre towards Chavignol and the hills that encircle the village.
The soil in the closest vineyards is cailliottes while the hills are terres blanches (argile calcere/marnes kimmeridgian)
From Sancerre looking over Saint-Satur, just to the north, and its vines
Night sky and the hills of Sancerre