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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

Friday, 25 September 2009

2009 vintage – Touraine, Reuilly, Quincy

Vineyards above the small town of Reuilly (above and below)

We have had another good day out in the vines with the weather still set fair, although there was a little more cloud around Reuilly and Quincy. Everyone, who was spared the hail, is very happy – even delighted with the quality of the harvest so far. In Reuilly and Quincy the vintage will be over next week.

We started at the Clos du Porteau (Saint–Georges-sur-Cher) as I wanted to take photos of several grape varieties that I had never photographed – Grolleau Gris, Pinot Gris (also known in the Loire as Malvoisie) and Menu Pineau (also known as Arbois). These will be posted separately.

Pickers in Reuilly

Sign for Le Chai de Reuilly

Immediately after this we headed for Reuilly. Firstly to have a look at the vineyards – they can be a little difficult to find at Reuilly as it is only a small appellation. Then dropped by Le Chai de Reuilly and had a quick chat with Claude Lafond and tasted some juice and some fermenting must. "We've done about two thirds of the harvest. It has been very dry but the rain at the beginning of the month was very good for the grapes. The Sauvignon Blanc is around 13.5% potential alc, Pinot Noir is around 13˚% and the Pinot Gris – 12.5%-13%. For all three varieties the acidity is between 4-5g per litre. I've now started to relax and the last two nights I have been sleeping better." All the samples of 2009 I tasted were gras but appeared to have balancing acidity and certainly no hint of false flavours as the grapes are so clean and healthy.

Denis Jamain in Les Pierres Plates

Next we went to see Denis Jamain and his partner Anne and their Villa Camille on the southern outskirts of Reuilly on the road to Issoudun. Denis is absolutely delighted by the quality of the 2009 grapes from his 16ha. "We have been able harvest each parcel at the optimum moment. He has only a small amount to finish including his Pinot Noir in Les Pierres Plates vineyard, which is in conversion to organic viticulture.

Denis Jamain: Pinot Noir in Les Pierres Plates

Then we drove the 10 kilometres north east from Reuilly to neighbouring Quincy (Sauvignon Blanc is the sole permitted variety here). First a brief stop in the village of Quincy to watch a couple of picking machines working in the vineyards of Gérard Bigonneau, who is based in nearby Brinay. About two thirds of the harvest in Quincy is now finished and there are plenty of picking machines either in the vineyards or on the roads heading to their next assignment.

Picking machine in vineyards of Gérard Bigonneau (AC Quincy)

Close up of the machine

Then we headed up to Brinay to see Jean Tatin, who was harvesting just to the south of the village by the cemetry. Jean was less happy: "We had hail in May and this was followed by the worst attack of mildew for 20 years. After the hail there was a drying wind from the east and I thought it wasn't necessary to spray against mildew. Big mistake! When we did spray 10-12 days later it was too late. We lost about 20% to hail and about the same to mildew. Overall the yield is about 40-45hl/ha but it is very variable with some parcels at 60hl/ha and some at 20hl/ha."

Jean Tatin with a bunch of 2009 Sauvignon Blanc – the browny patch on one of the grapes is acid rot

Jean: "Fortunately the grapes are big this year and full of juice, so this is helping to bring the yield up. There was plenty of rain in July, so although August was dry the vines haven't lacked water this year. There are still about 7-10 hectares to pick. We have finished at Domaine de Tremblay and we will finish Ballandors early next week. We can't wait any longer because the pourriture acide (acid rot) is starting to develop. Anyway despite the problems this year 2009 is a good vintage."

Picking machine@Ballandors
Sign for Domaine des Ballandors, Brinay

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