Friday morning I tasted a number of reds from Menetou-Salon, Reuilly and Sancerre: 7 from Reuilly, 10 from Menetou-Salon and 25 from Sancerre – mainly 2008s with a few 2009s.
Next week I plan to write the two tastings up in more detail but now a couple of observations. Firstly there was not one screwcapped bottle amongst the 168 wines I tasted. Given the take up of screwcapped bottles in many other wine areas, especially Australia and New Zealand, especially with Sauvignon Blanc, it is extraordinary that there wasn't a single example.
Secondly it was also evident from the tasting, perhaps especially in tannic vintages like 2008, that producers have two choices when making Pinot Noir into a red. Either they make a very light wine with a very short maceration, concentrating on the fruit with a light structure and little tannin or if they want to make a more concentrated, structured wine then it needs to be aged with wood to soften out the tannins. This was particularly noticeable tasting the red Sancerres. Of the 25 wines presented 13 had no oak aging, while the rest were aged for a time in wood. Almost of the unwooded wines had quite harsh dry tannins, even when initially they had attractive fruit. In contrast those aged in wood had much softer, more integrated tannins and structure with a higher success rate.