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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

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Quarts de Chaume: cryoextraction a necessity for some producers?

Really suitable for Quarts de Chaume! (above and below)

CRM and I took a stroll in the Quarts de Chaume and Chaume this afternoon to look again at the difference between the two appellations and to see how the grapes were coming along; although it will obviously be some time before picking starts here.

In much of the Quarts de Chaume bunches are well spaced out, a low yield as one would expect and the grapes have turned golden with a few early signs of noble rot. One parcel we saw was dramatically  different - a terraced vineyard in the lower south west part of the Quarts de Chaume. It had a very high, luxuriant foliage and a staggering number of large bunches of very green grapes on each vine - up to 18  bunches on some vines!

Difficult to see how grapes on these vines could ever ripen sufficiently to make sweet wine of the standard associated with Quarts de Chaume without the help of a concentrator. Assuming that these vines are not used for Anjou Blanc (bag-in-box) or vin de pays, the need for the owner of these vines to use cryoextraction  to make Quarts de Chaume becomes crystal and shockingly clear. Truly a machine to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse!

If cryoextraction turns such unpromising material into sweet wine one can well understand why Jean Baumard believes la cryosélection `m'apparaît être une des découvertes oenologiques majeures de la fin du XXème siècle`.  

In such overcrowded conditions it is hardly surprising that the wrong type of rot (grey) is likely to develop.

 It is instructive to see how different the vines, foliage and grapes are in much of the rest of the Quarts de Chaume.

Better ventilated, much lower yield and smaller bunches

Noble rot developing in a parcel of Bellerive's vines

Looking at the vines in the Quarts de Chaume today only reinforces my belief that cryoextraction should have no place in the Quarts de Chaume. It should be an appellation for naturally sweet wines not for wines born in a concentrator.


James said...


I'm not in favour of cryoextraction and I'm surprised that a vigneron of Baumard's reputation is arguing so strongly for it. I'd have thought that he could sell his crop at a high enough price to cover mediocre vintages and low yields in good years.
One question - is the proposal to allow cryoextraction in front of its use in QdC or is it a retrospective piece of legislation? Any incidents of unusually concentrated wines?

Jim's Loire said...


My understanding is that cryoextraction or cryoselection has been used by Domaine Baumard for a number of years, probably on an approved experimental basis.The Syndicat will have to decide whether cryoextraction can be permitted as a normal method. If they decide against, then I assume it is a question when the use of cryoextraction for experimental purposes must stop.

Will double check that this is the correct position.

I am sure that it is only through the use of cryoextraction that the heavy crop of green grapes shown in the photos could magically become sweet wine.