Awards and citations:

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

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Chinon and Bourgueil: two items – Richard Kelley MW on Chinon + video of Bourgueil 2011

Part of Chinon including Le Clos de l'Hospice

The latest instalment in Richard Kelley's Guide to the Wines of the Loire is now published:

'The Loire’s most recognized red wine appellation

‘Chinon, trois fois Chinon :
Petite ville, grand renom,
Assise sur pierre ancienne,
Au haut le bois, au pied la Vienne’

– François Rabelais (1494-1553) from Pantagruel - 1532

Grand renom indeed, but how many wine lovers can honestly claim to know and understand the Loire valleys most widely recognized red wine appellation? Superficially, it’s straightforward enough; a single classification based on Cabernet Franc, vinified both as red and rosé, and bolstered by a token amount of Chenin Blanc planted in many instances for cynical commerciality rather than any inherent cohesion with the region's soils. Unfortunately, for this commentator at least, Chinon is both a confusing and confused appellation, in desperate need of a shake-up....'

......To read more go to:

Video of the 2011 vintage in Bourgueil here.


Hervé said...

Very good text. Nice analysis.
But give me one good example of a consistent AOC.
Château Grillet, maybe?

Solutions? Send the brett police, as Mr Kelly says, and also the high yield police, the pesticide police, the unripe harvest police; and reshape the AOC base, shedding half the vines.
Funny to see that the AOC was given to a vine area corresponding to a very small proportion of today's vineyard... "La multiplication des pains" applied to wine. And meanwhile, the wine consumption has been steadily dropping. Cherchez l'erreur...

Jim's Loire said...

Although I think Richard makes some interesting and trenchant points, I don't go along fully with his analysis.

In my experience the tendency of the best growers now is increasingly towards single vineyard/single terroir wines and this is a general tendency in the Loire. I think this works in good quality vintages. In more difficult vintages I think there is a good argument for reducing the number of cuvées released and concentrating on making a really good domaine wine and this may mean mixing terroirs.

Again there has been a big change over the past 15-20 years in the work done in the vineyard. Visiting Chinon last Monday the Cabernet Franc remained healthy with little sign of rot despite the difficult weather conditions during the summer.

I'm not convinced that a village and cru system whould do much apart from introduce more bureaucracy and probably fat fees for lawyers. As ever the best guide is the name of the producer.

I have been trying to check without success the potential area classified as Chinon. Certainly the area planted has increased over the last ten years but I doubt if this is greater than the potential zone delimited in 1938 and 1966.