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, 8 February 2013

Baumard's frozen 'miracle'

 View across Layon from Quarts de Chaume: 9.10.12@14.35.15

Baumard: vines on plateau 9.10.12@14.35.18
Picking started in the Baumard vineyards: 6/7 days later
No sign of surmaturité here nor in subsequent photos  

The frozen miracle of Domaine des Baumard's 2012 'Quarts de Chaume'
Despite a record rainfall in October Domaine des Baumard has declared nearly 80 hectolitres of 'Quarts de Chaume' in 2012. This has been achieved by picking unripe grapes between 15th and 28th October and boosting their sugar content to the level required by the appellation rules through cryoextraction or cryoselection as Florent and Jean Baumard prefer to call it. This industrially created wine might qualify as a Vin de France but certainly should not be passed off as Quarts de Chaume, one of France's greatest sweet wine appellations.

Two producers have declared a total of 89 hectolitres of Quarts de Chaume 2012 to French Customs. The two producers are Château de Variere (Jacques and Anne Beaujeau) and Domaine des Baumard. On Monday afternoon at the Salon des Vins de Loire (4th February 2013) I tasted with Anne Beaujeau their 2012 Quarts de Chaume. Anne told me that this was picked on one day (
8th November) and that they have declared 10 hectolitres from their 1.25 - 1.3 hectares of Quarts de Chaume.

Therefore Florent Baumard will have declared between 77 and 79 hectolitres of 2012 Quarts de Chaume from five hectares of vines. I understand that only four hectares may actually qualify as Quarts de Chaume because some of the vines do not meet the appellation's rules regarding spacing in the vineyard. If it is four hectares Florent has declared just under the maximum of 20 hectolitres per hectare permitted under the rules of the Quarts de Chaume decret of 22nd November 2011. Five hectares gives a yield of fractionally under 16 hectolitres per hectare - an impossibility for grapes picked in October 2012. Even if Florent delayed picking until the end of November achieving such a yield that met the appellation's rigorous criteria would have been highly improbable. 

View across Layon: Baumard's vines on plateau to left
Verdant Vignes Larges just beyond grass 9.10.12@14.44.40 

Baumard: incipient rot: 9.10.12@14.51.35

Baumard: plateau 9.10.12@14.46.18
2012 was a very difficult year in the Loire. Fortunately a dry August and September meant that the early varieties, such as Melon de Bourgogne and Sauvignon Blanc, were of exceptional quality. It was almost impossible to find any rot. Volume, however, was tiny in some areas particularly Muscadet and Eastern Touraine.

Unfortunately in October conditions went downhill in spectacular fashion. In August 2012 the meteorological station of Beaucouzé, a western suburb of Angers, recorded 16.4 mm of rain  (average over the past 30 years is 41.3mm) and in September 36.8mm compared to an average of 55mm. These two dry months were followed by record rainfall in October when 202mm fell. (All of the weather stats in this post are from Beaucouzé courtesy of the excellent Meteo France site: Obviously stats, if they were available, from the Quarts de Chaume would not be identical but would not be significantly different as the vineyard is a little less than 20 kilometres due south of Beaucouzé).

Last year I was in Anjou for part of 8th October, all day of the 9th and left for the UK on the 10th. Late afternoon (8th) we drove from Doué-la-Fontaine in pouring rain. During the 9th there was intermittent rain with very humid conditions – ideal weather for mushrooms! That day we saw plenty of mousserons springing up in the vineyards of Anjou. 

On the afternoon of 9th October 2012 I spent an hour (approximately 14.30 - 15.30) in the Quarts de Chaume looking at and taking photos of the vines. It was obvious that the grapes in Quarts de Chaume plots were some way off being at the necessary minimum of 18.5˚ potential. I took photos of the Baumard vines both in their plateau plot, which is just to the north of their terraces, which overlook the Layon and in the terraces amongst the vignes larges.  It was clear that Baumard’s vines were as usual generously laden and you would have struggled to make dry white wine without resorting to chaptalisation with a significant proportion of the grapes.  

Baumard: vignes larges. 9.10.12@14.52.02

 Baumard: vignes larges on the terraces – heavily laden vine – 13/14 bunches. 9.10.12@15.09.46
For the vignes larges 2.5 kilos is maximum permitted yield for each vine 
 Baumard: same vine slightly different view – 9.10.12@15.09.58


 Baumard: vignes larges on the terraces with view over Layon: 9.10.12@15.08.21

Baumard: two heavily laden vines – about 21 bunches visible 

From 9th to 15th October, when the 2012 Ban des Vendanges for the Quarts de Chaume was announced, the weather station of Beaucouzé, Angers recorded 78mm of rain (3.07 inches) – 38mm (1.49 inches) on 13th October alone. Baumard’s pickers were out in the vines either on 15th or the following day (16th) for the first tri. Given this deluge it is very likely that the potential degree of alcohol in Baumard grapes was lower on 15th/16th October than on the 9th October as would have been the case everywhere in the appellation. From the photos I took on 9th it is evident that Baumard’s first tri was well below the required degree of 18.5%.

Between 16th-23rd October 2012 a further 101 mm (3.98 inches) of rain was recorded at Beaucouzé. There was also little sunshine – 23 hours from 15th-27th October and none between 17th-22nd October. Over that period (15th-27th) the temperature averaged 15.06˚C. Florent Baumard’s second and final picking was on or before 27th October with 25th being the most likely date. Unless Baumard’s parcel of vines in the Quarts de Chaume is blessed with a quite extraordinary and unique microclimate, there is no possibility that Domaine des Baumard’s 2012 Quarts de Chaume has met the minimum legal requirements. The photos demonstrate that it can only have been produced by using cryoextraction and this is confirmed by an unimpeachable and well–placed source.    


Baumard: Vignes larges – cryoextraction time – the freezer awaits: 9.10.12@3.03.39
Decret: Les vins sont issus de raisins récoltés à surmaturité (concentration naturelle sur pied avec presence ou non de pourriture noble) 

Baumard: closer to being ripe but still far from 18.5% potential  

Baumard: Good for Crémant? 

Baumard: more Crémant? (above and below)

Baumard: Terraces 9.10.12

 Baumard: in less than 20 days these grapes would be picked 

Cryoextraction is not yet banned in the Quarts de Chaume. The new décret of 22nd November 2011, which created the Loire’s first Grand Cru, allows the use of cryoextraction until the 2020 vintage when it will be banned. The main reason that this provision was included was to allow Florent Baumard time to adjust as the Baumards have been the great proponents of this technique in Anjou.

However, the grapes still have to reach the required degree of surmaturité on the vine before they qualify as Quarts de Chaume:  

'Quarts de Chaume: Cahier des Charges 22.11.2011

VII – Récolte, transport et maturité du raisin

1 Recolte

a) Maturité du raisin

Les vins sont issus de raisins récoltés à surmaturité (concentration naturelle sur pied avec presence ou non de pourriture noble).'

Although overall the grapes need to have a minimum of 18% potential alcohol, they have to be at 18.5% potential for every picking sweep (chaque passage) through the vines. As Florent and Jean Baumard are mounting a challenging the Quarts de Chaume décret in France’s supreme court (Conseil d’Etat), they are surely well aware of that the décret does not permit grapes destined for the Quarts de Chaume to be picked below these minimum requirements and then boosted by cryoextraction.

There is another benefit to cryoextraction it removes the taste of rot – a very useful attribute in 2012!

A few other producers did attempt to pick grapes for Quarts de Chaume. On 31st October following a respite from the rain – only 1mm fell from 24th-30th Yves and Anne Guegniard of Domaine de la Bergerie tried without success. They have 1.36 hectares and harvested 4 hls with a potential alcohol of 16.2%. This has gone into their only cuvée of 2012 Coteaux du Layon.  The same day Claude Papin (Château Pierre-Bise) picked 80% of his crop from their 2.97 ha at 18.2% potential – again too low to meet the minimum degree and will go into a lesser cuvée. Papin picked the remaining 20% (3.2hl) around 25th November when the potential reached 24%. In all he made 16hls here – none has been declared as Quarts de Chaume. Both of these producers habitually have very substantially lower yields than Domaine des Baumard.

I also took some pictures of vines from other producers in the Quarts de Chaume. Although considerably riper than the majority of Baumard's grapes, it was clear that none of these grapes were ready to be picked and this is before the heaviest of the rain of October 2012. 

House being renovated in the hamlet in Quarts de Chaume
The following photos were taken in vignes close to here

Last photo taken at 15.37.09 on 9th October 2012   

I have no doubt that the 2012 ‘Quarts de Chaume’ from Domaine des Baumard will taste good – Florent Baumard is clearly a very competent technician. There will be some that say it is the taste rather than the appellation rules that are important. This is like saying that passing off a cheap watch as a Rolex is fine providing it tells the time. Obvious nonsense! 

Before posting I invited Florent Baumard to respond which he did:

'Monsieur BUDD,

Vous êtes manifestement inconscient de l'inconvenance de votre démarche et du ton que vous employez.

Vous semblez disposer de beaucoup de temps, pour ma part, j'interromps là tout échange, j'ai du travail.

Florent Baumard'

(To paraphrase: your approach and tone is insolent. [Literal translation: you are obviously unaware that your approach and your tone are rude.] You obviously have plenty of time on your hands. I will have no further contact with you – I have work to do.)

Rather than declassify his 2012 ‘Quarts de Chaume’ Florent Baumard appears to be determined to brazen it out. In which case the INAO and the Repression des Fraudes should ensure that the 2012 ‘Quarts de Chaume’ Domaine des Baumard is declassified and sold as Vin de France assuming that industrial ice wine can be sold under this label. 

Congelator: Le soleil de Florent Baumard 

See also Horsemeat and Baumard's Quarts de Chaume, which covers the 2011 and 2010 vintages plus mislabelling.


Jim's Loire said...

Comment from Hervé Lalau:

I am personally very happy that you took so much time to gather evidence for our information. I hope the ODG will have done the same. It is their homework, otherwise what use are they.
I don't see anything insolent in your article, just plain facts, calculations and photographs.
Is it forbidden now to take photographs in the Anjou vineyards.

Anonymous said...

Hello J
Thank you for a good blogg!
Have B used this technology before this vintage?
Are ther more domaines using it?
Best Jörgen

Jim's Loire said...

The Baumards have long used cryoextraction or cryoselection as they prefer to call it. They are certainly the leading proponents. For the moment it is not illegal in the Quarts de Chaume providing the grapes reach the required richness on the vine before being picked. The last vintage in the Q de C that it can be used will be 2019.

This assumes that the Baumards' challenge to the décret is rejected by the French courts. It should be as their challenge has no merit as Florent Baumard's passing off in the 2012 vintage illustrates.

Anonymous said...

How can you say you do not have a vendetta against the Baumard's?

Have you tasted his wines? do they taste as if they have been enriched? Do the taste poorly?

What reason did you have to be in Anjou at this time? Was it specifically to take photos of Baumards vines? What about other vineyards at this time?

If you do not have a vendetta against him why is the one of the only high profile growers not featured on your site? Why do you devote so much time and attention to someone who is clearly making such good wine?

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. I do not have a vendetta against the Baumards. All I ask is that they respect the rules and that their Quarts de Chaume is what it says it is on the label.

I have tasted Buamards wines, which I acknowledge in the post are good. I think that vibrancy of his Quarts de Chaumes may well have been enhanced by cryoextraction.

I spent three weeks in the Loire during the 2012 harvest visiting vineyards and seeing producers from Pouilly-sur-Loire to the Pays Nantais. I have done this every year since 2008 and as far as I know I'm the only journlist covering the Loire to do this.

Please remember that it is the Baumards who are seeking to annul the 2011 Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru, so their practices in the vineyard are entirely relevant.

For the answer to your last question please look at the current furore over horsemeat in processed 'beef' products. The scandal is over there being horsemeat in a beef product not whether they taste good or bad.

I do not feature Baumard on the site as I'm not confident that the contents in the bottle always match what is on the label – 2012 Quarts de Chaume being a very good example.

Writing about good wines etc. is only part of my job as a journalist it is also to try to expose malpractice. Wine lovers have the right to know whether their Quarts de Chaume has met the strict rules and is thus genuine or has been made with the assistance of cryoextraction from unripe and quite probably ignobly rotten grapes. Quite rightly they pay a premium for the genuine article and should not asked to paying this premium for wine being passed off as Quarts de Chaume.

Given the evidence the onus shoukd surely be on the Baumards to show that their 2012 Quarts de Chaume is the genuine article. Nor to I think that 2012 is an exception, I have doubts whether their 2011 and 2010 fully satisfied the décrets ripeness criteria – remembering that this would have been the previous décret and not the one that became law on 22nd November 2011.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. I will be very happy to arrange a time for you and I to go and have a look at the vines in the Quarts de Chaume at the end of September - early October. Then you can judge whether I have a vendetta against the Baumards.

I would hope, however, they Florent Baumard decides to change tack and start following the example of most other producers in the Quarts de Chaume, going for small yields, naturally rich grapes and cease to rely on cryoextraction.

Hervé Lalau said...

Jim, it may prove difficult for you to make an appointment with someone who wishes to stay anonymous.

Jim's Loire said...

Good point Hervé! Anyway the invitation is on the table.

Anonymous said...

Very strong accusations that ask for more thorough research then just pictures of the 9th of October. The following 5-6 weeks would have been much more relevant for the outcome of the harvest. To harm a producer's reputation based on these observations comes across as highly unprofesional. Also taste is put aside too easy in this discussion. Baumard's Quarts des Chaume is the only true reference for the appellation. It usually takes 15-20 years before the Quarts des Chaume terroir shines through the sweet chenin wine. Only Baumard's Quarts des Chaume is consistentely able to remain fresh and alive during that kind of aging and then show the real Quarts des Chaume character. After tasting a 1967, 1969, 1976 of 1980 one wouldn't use the word industrial.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Thanks for your comment. The photos taken on 9th October 2012 are particularly relevant especially when taken in conjunction with the available weather statistics.

'The following 5-6 weeks would have been much more relevant for the outcome of the harvest.'

Florent Baumard carried out two tris in the 2012 vintage. The first either on 15th or 16th October when the Ban des Vendanges was announced and the last by 27th October – probably on the 25th October. Their harvest was certainly finished 18 days (probably 16) days after these photos were taken in a month where Anjou had a record monthly rainfall of over 200mm.

I have asked Florent Baumard for the dates but have had no response.

Furthermore it is not in dispute that the grapes that Baumard harvested for their 2012 Quarts de Chaume were below the 18.5% potential required by French law. Thus cannot legally be sold as Quarts de Chaume – unless, of course, they received a special derogation from the INAO relaxing the rules of the appellation.There has been no suggestion that this was th case.

All the vintages you quote are pre-1989 when the Baumards started using cryoextraction. The tragedy is that the Baumards are in danger of throwing away their reputation through their actions.

If you are going to accuse me of being 'unprofessional' then I would be grateful if you would first read my post with due attention.

Simon said...

Dear Jim,

Unless you were at the cellar door in 2012 to receive the harvest, armed with either a hydrometer or a refractometer then I'm not sure how you can be quite so determinedly certain of the potential alcohol of the grapes? You may have lots of photos taken before the harvest but were you actually at the cellar? You claim "it is not in dispute that the grapes that Baumard harvested for their 2012 Quarts de Chaume were below the 18.5% potential required by French law." That seems pretty unequivocal for someone armed with a camera and not sugar level testing equipment don't you think?

I think you also need to be a little fairer in your translation of Florent Baumard's response to you."Vous êtes manifestement inconscient de l'inconvenance de votre démarche et du ton que vous employez" to me does not translate as "your approach and tone is insolent" - it would seem that you are bending it somewhat to serve your own purposes.



Jim's Loire said...

Simon. Many thanks for your comment.

I have spent over 20 years visiting vineyards in the Loire and since 2008 have spent at least three weeks following the vintage – visiting vineyards, talking to producers tasting juice etc. Through talking sur place with specialists I have some idea of the graduations of colour as Chenin Blanc gets riper.

I don't need a hydrometer or a refractometer to know that those green grapes are nowhere near 18.5% potential. Instead they are much closer to 11% – more suited to Crémant than making an enjoyable dry white wine.

I wouldn't pretend to be able to tell whether a bunch averaged 17, 17.5, 18, 18.5 by eye alone but at that level the colour would be very different, with botrytis or passerilage evident. But this is clearly not the case here.
In terms of not 'in dispute please remember the well-placed source.



Jeremiah said...

dear Jim,
certainly a very interesting survey on Quarts de Chaume , it's seems you could have been a great prosecutor!! ( personnally, at this stage, I wished you would have called the INAO)
Certainly focusing on Baumard's wine the way you did proves that you have been caught in a turmoil of a local village fight, as you would know country people of small villages are fiercely jealous.
It is a pity that a great journalist like who seems to know about Loire valley and wines in general , falls in such a ditch
As you know cryoextraction (natural or not) is the way to make the famous Inniskillin ice wines.
I understand your point of you, and I would love some articles on the flavoured Australian wines, the 15% water authorised in California wines, the spanish blended Bordeaux or the Champagne made with Chardonnay grapes from all over France ( specially in a small year) etc.........
And what about the fake Montalcino or fake burgundy or even the fake Pinot Noir sold by Gallo all over the US.
As your skills shows, you could be a great defender of Appellations, and the public would be about to know the truth about what they are drinking.
But please do not focus, like you did on one producer, as it really seems to be very personal ( no wonder why Mr B doesn't want to take to you)
and really deserve your image.
I am sure you can do better next time

Jim's Loire said...


Thank you for your comment.

My main focus is the Loire and therefore the Loire's first Grand Cru is of particular interest, especially as the Baumards are mounting a legal challenge against it.

A search on Jim's Loire will show that I did post on several occasions about that scandal.

Whether Canadian icewine can be made by cryoextraction is irrelevant here. What is important in this context is the Quarts de Chaume and its rules.

If I have a responsibility as a journalist it is to the consumer, who is entitled to know that the label accurately reflects what is in the bottle. If Florent Baumard respected the rules I would very very happy to praise his wines. Just as I praised his bold move the bottle his wines under scewcap as I did on in February 2006.

Florent Baumard may label his 2012 as Quarts de Chaume but this will be a deception and a deception that will harm the domaine's reputation. He would be wise to consider what is happening to Findus and inform the INAO that he has made an error.

Incidentally the local representative of the INAO is aware of the situation.

mj/mg said...

Hello Jim, I don't know you, you don't know me but I want to thank you for such an investigation. It is always good to put into perspective even the "best" producers of an appellation.

The answer of Mr Baumard is quite typically what you could expect but it is not really clever. He had all the means to prove you wrong (and very easily), yet he is not even polite.

I also can tell to your "anon" fan that it is absolutely self evident that the grape you picture cannot be over 18,5%. Some of them are clearly not even ripe to produce a decent dry wine (so 11 is a good guess).

Even though I tend to enjoy their wines in the youth, there have already been a few years since I started doubting about the integrity of this estate. Your post and their attitude certainly doesn't help.

Thank you again for your precise work. I hope we will someday get a better answer from the producer.

M Guinard (Wineops)

mj/mg said...

Hello Jim, I don't know you, you don't know me but I want to thank you for such an investigation. It is always good to put into perspective even the "best" producers of an appellation.

The answer of Mr Baumard is quite typically what you could expect but it is not really clever. He had all the means to prove you wrong (and very easily), yet he is not even polite.

I also can tell to your "anon" fan that it is absolutely self evident that the grape you picture cannot be over 18,5%. Some of them are clearly not even ripe to produce a decent dry wine (so 11 is a good guess).

Even though I tend to enjoy their wines in the youth, there have already been a few years since I started doubting about the integrity of this estate. Your post and their attitude certainly doesn't help.

Thank you again for your precise work. I hope we will someday get a better answer from the producer.

M Guinard (Wineops)

Jim's Loire said...

Matthieu. Many thanks for your comment. I agree I hope Florent Baumard will soon be more forthcoming with his responses.

The other very important question is: will the INAO and ODG now investigate and, if they find that the Baumards' 2012 Quarts de Chaume does not meet the appellation's rules will they declassify it?

Simon Tyrrell said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your response but I think your accusations skate on some pretty thin legal ice. I spent two years studying viticulture and oenology, make wine in the Rhone Valley and have been involved in the wine business for twenty years but unless I saw the sugar density via an analytical device I wouldn't presume to know the true reading.I take it your 'well placed source' works closely with Mr.Baumard? Your photos were taken on the 9th October and you say Baumard did a first tri on the 15th/16th. There were some bunches in your photos that even you claim yourself looked pretty ripe. How do you know he wasn't just harvesting those during that first selection?

Also whilst your weather data is of interest, I think you will admit than in viticultural terms your mention of sunshine hours is much less important than that of the temperature. What was the mean temperature during the same period in previous years? Also and very importantly in relation to the rainfall, what was the wind speed and direction during this time?

I'm also a bit confused by your photos of Chenin bunches that would be "good for Cremant". Are you claiming that it would be possible for Baumard to make a sweet wine using cryoextraction from grapes that would be only good for Cremant? Or are you claiming that he chaptilised as well?



Jim's Loire said...

Thanks again for your comment Simon.

Firstly there is no suggestion that Florent Baumard used chaptalisation. My comment 'good for Crémant' relates to the grapes shown being considerably closer in ripeness to the requirements of Crémant de Loire rather than Quarts de Chaume.

You can assured that the source is very close to M. Baumard and that there is every reason to believe what they say is correct. They reinforce very considerably any legal thin ice you may have detected.

I have not claimed to be able to tell exactly what the potential alcohol is in these grapes. I am confident, however, that the green grapes pictured on the 9th October are much closer to 11/12% potential alcohol than they are to 18.5%. Equally I doubt if the riper grapes shown are more than 15-16.5. Even if they were 18.5% this is the minimum required and, given Chenin Blanc's variable ripeness, there would have to be some bunches considerably in excess of 18.5% potential to satisfy the appellation's rules.

In 2012 the Baumards carried out two pickings – 15th/16th October and almost certainly a second on 25th October. Subsequently declaring close to the maximum yield allowed under the 2011 décret.

Maximum temperatures in 2012 between 9th October and 25th averaged 17.37˚C. With a high of 22.4˚C on 10th and a low of 12.5˚C on 25th. Between the two tris (15th-25th October) it was 15.83˚C

The average maximum temperature for October 2012 was 16.7˚C, while the average over the period 1981 to 2010 was 17.3˚C.

mj/mg said...

@Simon et Jim évidemment ;)

You don't need to use a device to see that these grape are by no means at 18,5%. A grape at 18,5% is golden-dark golden and almost dried out... these are not even ripe at all. Some bunches will reach the level, but the average is clearly below.

Though, I agree that scientifically speaking the only indisputable proof would be an analysis of a representative sample... Here, however, the evidence is still overwhelming.

I think that just the fact that he declared almost the maximum possible when most could not even produce this quality of wine is meaningful.

I hope the INAO and ODG will follow the case.

Simon said...

Hi Matthieu,

I agree with your comment "that scientifically speaking the only indisputable proof would be an analysis of a representative sample" and therefore to make any other claim without this proof could be considered defamatory.

You seem intent on attacking and destroying the reputation of a grower and thus harming him and those who work for him based on photos that were not even taken at the point of harvest! And in spite of all the other evidence (some of which has been selectively ignored)you have no hard scientific facts but you use the freedom of the internet to speculate and cast aspersions. You condemn the man but you have no facts unless by some chance you were his oenologist and were at his cellar door when the grapes arrived.

If I'm wrong I will apologise to you but I don't know where or how you're going to get the real hard proof to do so and in my opinion it would be better if you stopped slandering someone if you don't know for sure 100% the facts.



Anonymous said...


I agree with you 100%

The Baumards have broken no laws.

They are allowed to cryo freeze. They are under the hectolitres/hectaire.

This man has a personal vendetta against the Baumards for reasons I have no idea why.

Im my tasting experience the Baumards are one of just a very small handful of producers making passable wine that is not oxidized, cloying and unfocused from that appellation. Let me be clear and say there are producers making good wine from this small appellation. But this is the exception rather than the rule

They are the standard of the appellation and their wines consistently out taste any other offering from the appellation but for some reason they are being attacked by someone who tries to pass off basic slander and libel off as honest journalism.

If this man truly cared about the quality of the quarts de chaume appellation he would be speaking to the producers who making boring, cloying one dimensional wines.

The fact that one producer has been able to produce a crop in a disastrous vintage should be celebrated not attacked. Shouldn't the point to make wine? Shouldn't every possible legal avenue be explored in order to make good wine year in and year out?

Maybe if other producers used the same methods in the vineyards and in the cellars there would be more happy producers with a crop and wine to sell this year. Then the energy would have gone into producing wine rather than jealously begrudging each other.

Mr. Budd if you have a confirmed inside source working at baumard and have proof of his frauds this source should be easily able to produce the required documents and lab results in order to show to the INAO. There is a small amount of people working at the domaine and the domaine is called Domaine DES Baumard. Plural. It is a family operation and there is no one working there that would even speak to you let alone divulge information.

If you truly cared about the appellation this would have gone right to the INAO.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Thank you for your comment.

'They are allowed to cryo freeze. They are under the hectolitres/hectaire.'

If you had read my post properly you would be aware that I make it clear that cryoextraction/crryo freeze is not banned at present in the Quarts de Chaume. But the grapes have to have a potential alcohol of 18.5% at the time of picking before cyroextraction/cryoselection/cryo freezing can be used.

Nor have I said that the Baumard was taste unpleasant but that is not the point. The appellation rules were set up to ensure that the wine in the bottle matched the label. It was much less a guarantee of quality.

The INAO are aware of this post. However, my job as a journalist is to report on what I see, on what I find etc. This is what I have done and I sorry that the Baumards have chosen not to provide any details of their 2012 harvest in the Quarts de Chaume.

I'm afraid I miss the point you are making about Domaine des Baumard.

Jim's Loire said...

Simon. Thank you again for your comment.

'I agree with your comment "that scientifically speaking the only indisputable proof would be an analysis of a representative sample" and therefore to make any other claim without this proof could be considered defamatory.'

It must be a nonsense to suggest that without this proof it could be considered defamatory.

The vast majority of the grapes shown in the photos are well below 18.5% potential and much closer to 11-12. To obtain the exact degree would as you and Matthieu agree would need a hydrometer or a refractometer but they are not required to tell you that these grapes are green and not yet ripe. No danger of the birds eating them they know when grapes are ripe without a hydrometer.

I would be grateful if you would clarify this comment: 'And in spite of all the other evidence (some of which has been selectively ignored)'

Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

What could actually have been an interesting discussion and comparison is completely overshadowed by the feeling that this is some sort of vendetta towards one particular producer. Had it been a truly scientific endeavour where one would to walk around all vineyards, from all producers and compare grapes (and actually measure the ripeness instead of the questionable approach of taking scattered photos and then claiming to know at what ripeness level the grapes are in some sort of theoretical extrapolated "future") and do so on a continuous basis right up to the very harvest, not only of the first trie but all subsequent passings and then actually standing at the cellar door doing proper measurements, then, at least, we could have a discussion but whether you are aware of it or not, but by displaying the winemakers response as something to add to a "list of Awards and Citations" the picture you paint of yourself is a person with an agenda begging for attention. Judging from your responses here I predict you won't agree or not even understand the point.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Thank you for your comment. I don't agree with your point but I do understand it.

The photos were taken 6-7 days before the first passage through the vines. Some 76mm rain fell at the weather station from 10th-15th, There was further heavy rain between 15th and 25th when the harvest was finished. 16 days is not extrapolating into a theoretical distant future but into the near future. if you can show me examples of grapes with the level ripeness as shown changing from around 11-12% potential alc to 18.5% during 16 days of heavy rain, then I would be delighted to see this.

My agenda is that the consumer has a right to know that they are getting what they are paying for.

I note that the Baumards are yet to give any details of the harvest of 2012 in the Quarts de Chaume and that questions I have put, without complaint, to many hundreds of producers – yields, picking dates and potential alc are deemed to be insolent and impertinent.

When I took the photos on 9th October I had no idea when picking would start in the Quarts de Chaume. That day picking was going on in Savennières and producers I spoke to were waiting for their Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon to be ready to pick. Naturally I assumed that the sweet wine harvest was some way off. Clearly had the Baumards decided to pick in November the photos would have much less relevance in terms of maturity, although indications of the volume on the vines would still have been relevant.

Simon said...

Hi Jim,

I am concerned by the fact that for a start you use a weather station that is 20 klms away from Quarts de Chaume which negates the concept of a micro-climate or more specifically a meso-climate in viticultural terms. Leaving that aside and using the climate data you collected, a mean high of 17.37 degrees between the 9th and 25th October would appear to play very much in Baumard's favour but I would also like to know about the wind conditions during this period. In the Rhone, as I 'm sure you're well aware, we get spectacular periods of heavy rain as well as periods of great heat but one factor that helps enormously with grape concentration is the Mistral. I don't pretend to know the first thing about the wind conditions in the Loire Valley but in my opinion you can selectively take one or two climate elements and come up with a result - you need to give and see the whole picture.

In many ways though the nub of the question here is do you have proof? I entirely agree with anon's comment about a theoretical extrapolated future. Even your guess of the grapes being at 11-12% on the 9th October is just that, a guess. You may have plenty of experience in the Loire during harvest time and you could be right but in my book unless you have hard evidence then you have no right to so publicly attack a grower's reputation in a way that could have significant financial consequences for him. In the horse meat case the testing laboratories were able to find and prove the existence of horse DNA in the so-called 'beef' products. I don't think you have hard proof and now that the wine has been made you/we will never know the truth. The way I was brought up is that people are supposed to be innocent till proven guilty and as I don't think you can provide the intractable scientific proof required then we must assume that Baumard is innocent.

Kind regards,


Jim's Loire said...

Simon. Thanks

Although the stats are from a weather station 20K from the Quarts de Chaume, which does enjoy a particularly favoured position, having talked with between 10-15 producers in the Layon it is clear that conditions there reflected those recorded at Beaucouzé during October 2012. Several have said that 200mls of rain fell during October – a record.

There is no equivalent wind to the mistral in the Loire. Often during September/October a drying wind can blow from the east saving years like 2002. This was not the case in 2012. The vineyards of the QdeC are sheltered.

As Chenin Blanc ripens it colour changes considerably. When the grapes change from green to become golden coloured – raisins dorées – the potential alcohol is typically from 13-15. So it is not a guess to say that the green grapes are far from 18.5 potential.

Anonymous said...

You are still only addressing half of these posts that are making legitimate points against what you are trying to say.

If you go back on this last post you only address weather in your response to Simon, not your defamatory and petulant nature.

I also believe Simon's point about QdC being a micro climate is bang on. Not another grower has the beautifully exposed vines of the Baumards. If anyone were to benefit from the micro climate it would be them. Im sure you could go to the far off corner of any of these other producers that you have allied with (which speaks to my last point about jealous infighting mentioned in my previous post)and select a vine in the corner of the appellation that doesnt have the best exposure and find green grapes. You can find underripe grapes in any vineyard. Especially with chenin blanc! Selecting only these photos and these grapes is biased and unfair journalism. It is further proof of your vendetta against the Baumards.

You can extrapolate all you want. You can talk to as many growers as you like. What some grapes look like on one day, days before they are even picked (if you even know the exact date they were picked...which is another one of your 'extrapolations') as Simon said, your 'extrapolations' are not evidence enough to compare a famed and celebrated producer's wine to tainted horsemeat. That is absurd.

I was in the loire at this time and I did attend the Baumards vineyards in QdC.

There were plenty of plants you did not take pictures of. There were plenty of beautifully mature grapes you did not take pictures of. Many of these are on the terrases that you so selectively do not mention in your posts. The very terrases that are the essence of QdC. The vines that a beautifully positioned to catch sun.

Clearly you miss the point behind tries and more specifically cryo selection. By cryo selecting Baumard is able to eliminate the unripe grapes of bunches (since it is chenin blanc this happens quite frequently, which you may or may not know).

It is a modern wine making technique that involves a great deal of money, effort and time to get correct. Money and knowledge of modern wine techniques are two things in short supply in anjou during this era. Saying cryo selection is used to cut corners is like saying punching down of the cap is used to cut corners. It is but one of many modern wine making techniques used around the world. Go back and look at how the bordelais do it. They have had time and money enough to invest in it and experiment. Anjou does not so Anjou producers fear the future and ally themselves with slanderous journalists to fight progression.

Futhermore, the last time I checked the Baumards do not need to report details on their QdC to anyone but the INAO and the pertinent french authorities. Especially not to a quasi-professional journalist that systematically devoted countless hours into defaming and slandering the said producer. What makes you think they should report to you? Are you above the INAO?

Anonymous said...

Also the fact that you brandish a comment by a famed grower on the top of you page saying that you are unaware of how improper you are is very unprofessional.

Are you proud of your quarrels with this man?

Is this something you want people who come to your site for information to see?

Is that really something to be proud of?

Do you still maintain you do not have a vendetta and personal problem with this man?

Leave the poor guy alone. Things like this detract from your legitimacy.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Thank you for your comments.

I'm away travelling and will reply in more detail to your comments on my return.

I'm certainly not above the INAO but have the right to ask questions. Equally the Baumards have a clear right to decline to answer them or not reply at all.

Simon said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your reply.

I don’t dispute the fact that the colour of bunches change during ripening and that they will become much darker as the season progresses. The point I am trying to make is that whichever you put it, you do not have indisputable proof of the state of the grapes at the cellar door once they were harvested and therefore in my opinion you do not have the right to attempt to destroy the reputation of a producer based on the evidence you have. Show me photos of the bunches on the date of harvest; give me the refractometer or hydrometer reading and then we will have something to talk about - otherwise it is simply speculation and not based on fact.

Is it OK if I say that I don’t believe that those photos you took were taken in the Quarts de Chaume appellation? Maybe they were taken in common old Anjou Blanc vineyards? Maybe they weren’t even taken in the Baumard vineyards at all? Maybe the date on your camera was wrongly set and in fact those photos weren’t actually taken on the 9th October? Is it OK to say these things and try and discredit your reputation? Maybe you are in secret working for someone else? The reality is that I don’t have any indisputable proof and therefore it would be wrong of me to proclaim to the world that this was the case but you feel it’s OK to do the same? I can’t simply go about making wild claims without some hard facts to back them up. If I did I imagine that I would be hearing from your solicitors pretty damned quick.

I’d also like to pick up on something that Anon posted. What is the actual purpose of cryo-extraction? You have portrayed it as an industrialised technique (something I will come back to). As far as I understand it the very purpose of the technique is to in fact eliminate under ripe grapes rather than miraculously enabling a grower to harvest any old rubbish and turn in into something special – a silk purse from a sow’s ear etc. From my knowledge of the technique the grapes that are not suited to produce high quality sweet wines are in fact removed at the point of pressing because they do not contain enough natural sugar and therefore freeze before those which do contain high sugar levels. They therefore do not release any juice during pressing and seemingly they can be found in tact after the pressing cycle has finished and it is only the grapes that have enough natural sugar that press. It is based on the laws of physics, more precisely Raoult’s Law which states that the freezing point of a solution lowers as the solute concentration increases. Therefore when the crop is lowered to 0°C only the grapes containing the least amount of sugar are frozen thus eliminating under ripe grapes.

I would also like to take you to task on your use of the term ‘this industrialised product’. I’m not quite sure what you mean by this and how you define industrialised ? At what point in history did wine making become industrialised ? If I follow your arguement through then I imagine anyone who uses trellising, a tractor, a sorting table, a pnuematic press, a pump, stainless steel tanks, temperature control, a filter, SO2, a bottling line etc etc is by your book guilty of making an industrialised product ? Even an oak barrel could be argued to be part of an industrialisation of the wine making process. In fact, as Tony Milanowski, my oenology professor used to say, you can not claim to make a wine that represents your terroir if you put it in to an oak barrel. Do any of your client domaines use any of the above tools ? Are the top Bordeaux chateaux and many of the great names in Burgundy gulity of making industrialised wines because they have reverse osmosis machines ? I don’t see too many people rushing to accuse them of such. Maybe journalists are scared of taking on the financial might of these producers or of attacking sacred cows ? Surely all these tools are simply part of an evolution in the wine making process ? Otherwise we will all have to return to making wine in pits and putting it into gourds.



Jim's Loire said...

Simon. Thank you again.

I dispute that I'm making 'wild claims' for the reasons that I have already explained – photos, the weather during the 16 days between those photos being taken and the second and final tri carried out at Domaine des Baumard.

Had Domaine des Baumard declared a small quantity of 2012 Quarts de Chaume, then I would accept that it was possible even if I thought it unlikely. But nearly 80hls is another matter.

True technically the date on the photos could be manipulated. However, as I included general views of the area it would have been very complicated and the image numbers are consecutive.

Equally the photos could only have been taken in a few places in Anjou where you can find vignes larges. I know of two: those pictured on this post and the Baumard vines in the Clos du Papillon, Savennières.

Lowering the grapes to 0˚C is not banned under the decrét and will continue to be legal after 2020 when the ban on lowering the temperature of the grapes to below -5˚C.

As one of the objections by the Baumards to the new décret is that without cryoselection it isn't possible to achieve the maximum yield permitted (20hl/ha)it would seem perverse to be objecting to criteria that allowed them to take the grapes down to -4˚C.

Industrial process: First I don't have any 'client domaines' unless you mean producers for whom I have translated their text from French into English and I haven't done any translation for any QdeC producer.

As I have said I agree with the 2011 décret that requires the grapes picked to have ripened on the vine and achieved a minimum of 18.5% minimum for each tri.I think that a potentially great sweet wine like a Quarts de Chaume should be produced as naturally as possible with the grapes ripened on the vine.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Thank you for your comment.

'Im sure you could go to the far off corner of any of these other producers that you have allied with (which speaks to my last point about jealous infighting mentioned in my previous post)and select a vine in the corner of the appellation that doesnt have the best exposure and find green grapes. You can find underripe grapes in any vineyard. Especially with chenin blanc! Selecting only these photos and these grapes is biased and unfair journalism. It is further proof of your vendetta against the Baumards.'

Whether or not I could have found green grapes in other parts of the Quarts de Chaume on the afternoon of the 9th October is not relevant here as only one other producer has declared a Quarts de Chaume in 2012. That was picked 14 days after the final Baumard tri and the yield per hectare is considerably smaller.

Had I had time that day to photograph grapes from every corner of the appellation there would have still be some green grapes. There also would have been very few on that date that meet the ripeness required by the appellation.

This is marked contrast to the splendid maturity of the grapes at the end of September in 2011. Given the rain that was to come in the succeeding days you can see why most producers did not make a QdeC in 2012.

Vendetta? Please see my fifth comment on this post. Given that the Baumards are seeking to overturn the 2011 décret that set up the Loire's first and so far only grand cru this is entirely reasonable that I should cover this story.

Simon said...

Hi Jim,

My apologies for the remark about client domaines. I saw the list at the top of your blog but didn't realise that you had just done translations for them.



Jim's Loire said...

Hi Simon

Many thanks for the rapid apology and clarification. Jim

Anonymous said...

Hello jim
I am a fond reader of your blog and i enjoy it greatly, however in your recent post about Baumard i notice you claim not to have a personal vendetta, yet you still complain about him using a method that is perfectly legal!
please correct me if im wrong, i am very dissapointed that that someone like you could descend to something so petty.
please give me a reason to continue with your blog.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Thanks for your message.

It is only partially correct to say that cryoselection/cryoextraction is perfectly legal. It is and will be legal until 2020 providing the ripeness of the grapes on the vine are 18.5% potential at the time they are picked.

You are not allowed to pick grapes below this level and then raise the sugar level artificially elsewhere. If you were this would mean that you could pick the grapes at a considerably lower level of ripeness and then boost the concentration by cryoextraction or by other means.

This is all set out in the appellation rules.

There are, of course, other ways of making sweet wine. Randall Grahm makes his Muscat vin de glacière using cryoextraction. Nothing wrong with that because the process is out in the open.

Vin Santo is made by drying grapes that are picked at normal ripeness 12%-13%. The sugar content is concentrated through the months of drying. The results can be great.

The consumer is rightly charged a premium for Quarts de Chaume, so I think it is entirely reasonable that the producers in this appellation respect the rules and that the wine is a product of naturally very ripe grapes.

Anonymous said...

You seem to be the only person that does not like the final product. Clearly the depth of flavor and complexity cannot be achieved using high yield grapes.

I am not saying you do not have a right to cover the story. There is covering a story with journalistic objectivity and then there is comparing his wines to tainted beef. I am commenting about the way you have gone about this blog. It is petty and unfair. You claim to be open to discourse with baumard but all the things you have done you have gone ahead with before contacting him or approaching him.

I pay more for Quarts de Chaume sure. I pay more for Baumards QdC because it is quite honestly better than any other producers. More consistent. More complex. All around a better wine. If he was producing a poor product I could understand. Nor do I think it is completely about the final product. You clearly have to follow the rules.

If Baumard fields a wine and calls it QdC and it tastes good and as you say you say he has not broken the rules...what right do you have to speak about both the man and his domaine in this way? You are taking issue with ripeness at picking. Something hard to control and prove. Especially with just photos(which were not even on the day of picking) It is only merely speculation. Unprovable, especially retrospectively.

I could understand if you brought these issues up when the wine is released in the future if it is an inferior product. But you have jumped the gun and done it in a completly unfair way.

You still have not commented on my comment about you featuring The quotes of Florent Baumard at the top of you page under 'awards and distinctions' Just because you cover a story does not mean you have a vendetta. Doing something like featuring the man saying you have an insolent tone under the awards section of your blog says otherwise.

Anonymous said...

and no. It is not partially correct to say it is legal. It is legal until 2020. If its not past 2020 then it is still legal. Full stop.

Furthermore, this decree is being challenged.

Cryo freezing is 100% legal until 2020. Full stop. At the moment Florent used it, it was legal. 2012 harvest it was completely legal. Not partially. To say otherwise is wrong. You are misleading people. This concern for the law you have should be a two way street.

I also think you really need to do some more research on cryo. If someone cryo froze grapes of the alcohol potentials you are talking about the resulting loss of juice would be immense. When you concentrate that much you lose a hell of a lot of the final product. Why would a producer do this if they are trying to cut corners? Im sure we can get the rs of the final product and do the calculations. The amount lost if Baumard was using grapes at 15% potential alchohol (as you have wrongly claimed he has...the ones clearly only good for cremant remember?) would be way beyond economic feasibility. Baumard would lose money. Why would he do this? why would he use high yields to ultimately lose more final juice?
Your claims do not even make logical sense.

Would they not being trying to get the most juice? This is a quite simple way of refuting your claims.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Thank you for your comments.

I have not said I do not like Baumard's Quarts de Chaume. See above: 'I have no doubt that the 2012 ‘Quarts de Chaume’ from Domaine des Baumard will taste good.'

The beef/horsemeat comparison is relevant here as that scandal is about mislabelling and not primarily about taste. If a wine is labelled as Quarts de Chaume consumers have the right to expect that it has met the criteria of production.

As quoted above from:

'Quarts de Chaume: Cahier des Charges 22.11.2011

VII – Récolte, transport et maturité du raisin

1 Recolte

a) Maturité du raisin

Les vins sont issus de raisins récoltés à surmaturité (concentration naturelle sur pied avec presence ou non de pourriture noble).'

The grapes have to meet the minimum ripeness criteria as set out in the décret before the temperature of the grapes can legally be lowered below -5˚C. Not my opinion but French law, which as you say is being challenged by the Baumards.

There are some obvious advantages to picking grapes at say 14-15% potential and achieving the concentration by means of cryoextraction, especially if your yields are higher than those permitted under the rules. This will allow you to pick early, so taking less risk than those who wait for surmaturité on the vine. If you pick above the quantity of grapes allowed and concentrate you can end up with a volume is at or close to the maximum permitted.

I have previously asked Florent Baumard for details of the domaine's Quarts de Chaume yields. No response. I shall be in Rochefort in late March and will be visiting the Mairie where at least some of this information is I understand available.

Under the QdeC décret the producer is obliged to record the ripeness of the grapes picked and there can be a control of the parcel by the INAO. I don't know whether the INAO visited during the two tris by the Baumards. I suspect probably not. Treatments in the winery also have to be recorded.

You are obviously entitled to your belief of what is possible and what is not. David Greiller, the wine maker at Château Bellerive, told me at the Salon des Vins de Loire that it was 'impossible or virtually impossible to make Quarts de Chaume in 2012'. Greiller's very fine 2010 Chaume from Château de la Guimonière won the Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Loire sweet wines in 2012.

Given the photos, the climatic conditions, the requirements of the QdeC Cahier des Charges, the dates of picking and the volume declared I do not believe that the Baumards satisfied the criteria for Quarts de Chaume in 2012.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Incidentally the comment about Crémant is relevant as Domaine des Baumard's vines in the Quarts de Chaume were judged by the INAO to exceed the permitted yield in the summer of 2011. The excess grapes remained on the vine until early September, when they were picked presumably to make Crémant.

Most of the grapes shown in the photos (9.10.12), which cover two significant blocks of the Baumard holdings in the QdeC, are not at 15 but closer to 11-12.

Jim's Loire said...


'and no. It is not partially correct to say it is legal. It is legal until 2020. If its not past 2020 then it is still legal. Full stop.

Furthermore, this decree is being challenged.

Cryo freezing is 100% legal until 2020. Full stop. At the moment Florent used it, it was legal. 2012 harvest it was completely legal. Not partially. To say otherwise is wrong. You are misleading people. This concern for the law you have should be a two way street.'

Is this perhaps Florent Baumard's interpretation of the QdeC's Cahier des Charges?

Are you saying that the grapes could be picked at below the required ripeness and legally brought up to the necessary 298 grams of sugar per litre?

Anonymous said...

No I am not saying that. I am saying why would someone have high yeilds to concentrate juice down so much that you have less juice to sell. It just does not make sense.

I am still curious for the 3rd time you have no commented on having Florents comments about you posted in your awards section. This is the 3rd time I have posted and you have ignored this.

I am very curious as to why you are proud of people thinking you are rude. Clearly the point of this blog is not keeping people informed, but a forum in which your personal vendettas and a quest for attention at whatever cost, including negative attention.

can you please tell me what this has to do with wine and quarts de chaume?

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Thanks again for your comment.

'No I am not saying that. I am saying why would someone have high yeilds to concentrate juice down so much that you have less juice to sell. It just does not make sense.'

I'm not sure what you you are referring to in your first sentence. Being able to concentrate high yields to sell at a high price makes good economic sense. Indeed the whole nature of sweet wine is to lose volume either on the vine or through drying grapes as in Vin Santo etc. with the hope that the resulting wine can be sold for a higher price.

I would be very grateful if you would explain what you mean here being in mind the provisions of the cahier des charges of the Quarts de Chaume Nov 2011:

'and no. It is not partially correct to say it is legal. It is legal until 2020. If its not past 2020 then it is still legal. Full stop.'

Many thanks


Anonymous said...

oh so according to you an anonymous person posting on your blog is now speaking for Florent Baumard?

yes, Cryoextraction is permitted as per the decree until 2020. So under those stipulations it is allowed. Why are you telling people otherwise.

I also see you removed Florents quote from your awards section. Scared you will not be taken seriously? Why did you take it down if you support everything you post on your blog?

I am glad there are other people posting on here commenting on your lack of credibility. You have none. Your methods and unreasonable attitude have proved it.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Thanks again for your comment.

It would be useful if you would clarify what you understand by 'those stipulations' as I suepct we may well be saying the same thing.

Simon said...

Hi Jim,

Just a couple of questions.

You say about Randall Graham's use of cryo selection "Nothing wrong with that because the process is out in the open." Are you now saying saying that the Baumard's are hiding their use of it?

Are you against the idea of cryo selection/extraction?

How in your opinion does the technique work? I mean what in your opinion is the actual science behind cryo selection/extraction?

Who else uses the technique in France?



Simon said...

Hi Jim,

Sorry, I forgot to ask you something else. You quoted the following

As quoted above from the Cahier des Charges:

'Quarts de Chaume: Cahier des Charges 22.11.2011

VII – Récolte, transport et maturité du raisin

1 Recolte

a) Maturité du raisin

Les vins sont issus de raisins récoltés à surmaturité (concentration naturelle sur pied avec presence ou non de pourriture noble).'

Is your interpretation of the law that every grape of every bunch be at a potential 18.5% before being harvested? or is it that each bunch needs to average 18.5% or that it is an average of the vineyard?

Also does it say in the Cahier des Charges that the potential 18.5% needs to be taken in the vineyard or is it the must reading after pressing?

I would be grateful in you could further clarify these points.



Jim's Loire said...

Simon. Thanks for your comments. Part of an answer here from the Cahier des Charges. See below. Happy to email you the doc if you let me have your email.

Quarts de Chaume Cahier des Charges: November 2011

V11 – Recolté, transport et maturité du raisin

2˚ Maturité du raisin
a) Richesse en sucre des raisins
Ne peuvent être considérés comme étant à bonne maturité les raisins présentant une richesse en sucre inférieure à 298 grammes par litre de moût.

Interactions causales
Les raisins sont alors récoltés par tries successives manuelles au sein d’une même parcelle avec une richesse minimale en sucre de 298 grammes par litre.

II Tenue de registres

3. Registre de suivi de maturité
Tout opérateur produisant des raisins et tout opérateur des vins en appellations d’origine tient à jour un registre sur lequel sont enregistrés :
L’année de récolte ;
Pour au moins une parcelle, les résultats d’un contrôlé de maturité réalisé avant vendange : richesse en sucre des raisins, densité, acidité totale ou fiche de degustation des baies ;

Chapitre III

1. Points principaux à contrôler et méthodes d’évaluation
Maturité du raisin : contrôle documentaire (verification des enregistrements chez les opérateurs) et contrôle sur le terrain (verification à la parcelle lors de la recolté)

My understanding from this is that it is the average of each parcel as registered by the producer. So some grapes may be under 18.5, with some over to satisfy the minimum requirement.

This before any treatment by lowering the temperature of the grapes below -5˚C allowed up to the 2019 vintage.

Will reply to your other questions in a separate comment.

Jim's Loire said...

Simon - your questions on cryoextraction:

a) My comment was about Randall's wine. Its title makes it absolutely clear how it has been made. It wasn't a dig at the Baumards although they have not yet given any information about their 2012 Quarts de Chaume.

b) I think I have made it clear that for top Loire sweet wine appellations like Quarts de Chaume and Bonnezeaux, cryoextraction is not appropriate in my view. In this I follow the current French law which bans reducing the temperature of the grapes to below -5˚C in the Quarts de Chaume décret. Under the transition arrangements this practice is permitted until after the 2019 harvest. An arrangement put in specifically to assist the Baumards in preparing for the time when the ban on reducing the temperature of the grapes came into force.

c) How the technique works? Please see the handbook of Enology Vol 1 2nd edition by P. Ribéreau-Gayon, D.Dubordieu, B. Donèche and A.Lonvaud – especially pages 306 and 310.

It would be interesting to know what volume of grapes the Baumards picked in 2012 to declare 77-79 hls of 'Quarts de Chaume'. Was this in line with the décret: 20 hl/ha and 1.7 kilos per vine (2.5 kilos for the vignes larges)?

d) Who else in France? I understand that it has been used in Sauternes in the past. Although I have made inquiries it is not clear whether it is still used by top properties in Sauternes and Barsac.

In any case this is not relevant to the Quarts de Chaume, which has banned its use with transition arrangements in place – see c. The décret also bans chaptalisation and machine picking – it would be equally irrelevant to ask where in France these two techniques are used.

Simon said...

Hi Jim,

Thank you for your replies.

If I understand it correctly therefore not all the bunches on all the vines need necessarily be at 18.5%. Interesting fact which would seem to play even further in favour of the Baumards given that even some of your own photos indicate, two weeks prior to harvest, bunches that appear to be getting close to optimal maturity.

Wouldn't you agree that the way you have put it across makes it seem that every bunch needs to be at 18.5% rather than an average of the vineyard?

The reason I ask about where else cryo selection is used in France is entirely relevant. I have heard it said on several occasions that two of the world's most famous sweet wines in Sauternes and Barsac use this technique and as far as I'm aware it is not banned in Bordeaux. Therefore I would be interested to know what you have against this technique and more pertinently why you believe it is not relevant in Quarts de Chaume or Bonnezeaux?. Is it based on a specific question of terroir, grape, style, or suitability? In your opinion what makes these two appellations so different. Why don't you include Vouvray Moelleux?

Who has influenced INAO's decision to ban the technique from 2020 on? Clearly not the people who make far and away (and have done so for decades)the finest wine of the appellation and let's be honest here Jim, thanks to whom the place has been awarded Grand Cru status in the first place (name me a grower who comes even consistently close to the Baumard standard and please whatever you do don't quote me a wine that won an award at the IWC!) No, I would hazard a guess that as usual, it was the other mediocre growers who can't see further than the end of their noses who have pushed for this decision. People who are driven by jealousy that someone in their commune has used their knowledge and skill as well as their business and cultural savvy and have taken their wines all around the world (thus bringing more attention to the region than any other grower has ever done)and in doing so have become ambassadors for the region. How dare the Baumards and in particular Jean, professor of oenology for many years at Angers University have the temerity to explore what perfectly legal equipment can do to the enhance the already sublime quality of their wines? No let's get rid of any potential advantage that the Baumards may have had due to the money they have earned through their success and that they have used invest in equipment. In fact why we're about it why don't we decree the banning of temperature control or sorting tables? Why are the Baumards challenging the law that will come into place in 2020 - because the law is an ass. If the Baumards were in Burgundy or Bordeaux and were using reverse osmosis nobody, including the likes of yourself would bat an eyelid and there wouldn't even be a story. This is the usual story of French tall poppy syndrome.

Lastly, I know how the cryo selection technique works, I was wondering if you did and if you do, you will know, and it's worth repeating, that it eliminates under ripe grapes.



Jim's Loire said...

Simon. Thanks for your comment.

I'm afraid I don't share your opinion on bunches 'reaching optimal maturity'. On the 9th October 2012 I didn't see any bunches in the Quarts de Chaume 'reaching optimal maturity' – either in the Baumard parcels or anywhere else. The first tri was 6/7 days after the photos were taken with the final tri 16 days later.

Nor do I share your opinion that only the Baumards make fine Quarts de Chaume and all the other producers are average and envious of the Baumards.

I carefully cited Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume as the two of the three crus of Anjou. Vouvray moelleux is closer to AC Coteaux du Layon.

Jim's Loire said...

Simon: 'This is the usual story of French tall poppy syndrome.'

Inded Simon – the other Quarts de Chaume producers jealous of the Baumards' wonderful viticultural practices – small yields, carefully separated and aerated bunches... Mon oeil!

High yielding vignes larges syndrome is more apposite.

Unfortunately the Domaine des Baumard is more stuck in a timewrap. The very considerable progress made in Anjou over the past 20 years or so in the production of sweet wine appears to have passed them by. Elsewhere yields have been cut, deleafing and careful separation of the the bunches etc.

The rigorous 2011 Quarts de Chaume décret recognises this progress and it must be galling for producers content to make Quarts de Chaume using naturally ripened grapes from often tiny yields frustrated by a producer who follows a very different path making substantial quantities of Quarts de Chaume every year grace à la cryoextraction. A producer who failed an INAO control in 2011 because of excessive yields.

I imagine that the vignerons in the Roche aux Moines in Savennières must be decidedly relieved that the Baumards do not have any holdings in that part of Savennières. Otherwise they might well have had difficulty agreeing their new (2011) appellation rules.

ericlecuriste said...

Hi Jim,
I realise that I'm a tad bit late on this case but one year later, how are things ? Did INAO undertake any action, did Baumard send dogs to bite you while you were cycling ? Could you take pictures of Baumard having lunch with Michel Bettane lately ? ;-) Thanks for the update