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

Friday, 28 October 2011

2011 Loire vintage: Vendange@La Butte, Bourgueil 20.9.11

Bunch of Cabernet Franc

We dropped into Domaine de la Butte (Bourgueil) on Tuesday 20th September to see how the harvest was coming on. Jacky Blot declared himself happy with the harvest, which had started here the day before. Certainly the grapes looked clean with no sign of rot and sweet to taste. Looking at the photos you can that the ground was still quite damp. Jacky thought that the resulting wine would be lighter than those in 2009 and 2010.

Deciding when to pick is always a difficult decision to make and easy for journalists with the benefit of hindsight plus no capital investment etc. at risk to criticise. However, a number of the leading Chinon producers were holding off until the following week. On the other hand picking here in Bourgueil and, especially, in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bougueil appeared to be in advance of Chinon. Also the forecast this week and the next week was, at this time. looking uncertain. It was not yet clear that the last ten days and the first few days of October were going to be gloriously hot and dry with temperatures up to 32˚C.

It will be good to taste the young 2011 Bourgueils and try to guess whether this week was the right time to pick or whether waiting a week might have bought benefits. Thankfully I don't have to make these decisions.

Cabernet Franc on La Butte – mi-pente (above and below)

Grapes arriving at the sorting table

Jacky Blot@the sorting table (above and below)

Joëlle Blot at work on the sorting table (above and below)

sorting 2011 Cabernet Franc

More scenes from the sorting table (above and below)

Hods rule! (above and below)

Another load of grapes – overlooking the gravel vineyards of Bourgueil

Loading the trailer

Grapes from here go straight down to the cellar below

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