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

Monday, 8 November 2021

Brief sortie to Anjou in late October

Magnificent autumn colours from the Quarts de Chaume
and way into the distance
Also a reminder of how high parts of Q de C are
before it plunges down to the Layon

Heavily laden Chaume
Also demonstrates Chenin's variable
ripening making it suitable for making sweet wine –
sweetness from some berries freshness from others
usually necessary to pick selectively

On Tuesday 26th October we made a flying visit across to Anjou from our base in the Cher Valley east of Tours. We drove through foggy conditions of varying intensity. It was particularly dense as we headed down to the River Layon from Beaulieu sur Layon heading to Saint-Lambert-du Lattay. 

Emmanuel Ogereau – 'the boss'

Vincent – happy to take a back seat these days

After visiting Catherine, Vincent and Emmanuel Ogereau at their domaine and tasting a few fermenting 2021 wines including the 1er Tri of their Quarts de Chaume, we headed as it was lunchtime to the Quarts de Chaume for a picnic. By this time the fog had lifted and we were treated to some magnificent views with their autumn colours. We picnicked as we often do along the track to Les Martinières – a right turn off the small road that leads to the hamlet of Chaume. This track is the dividing line between Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru and Coteaux du Layon Chaume Premier Cru. See map 

Pink = Quarts de Chaume vines

Green = Chaume vines

Naturally we had a look at some of the vines. Unsurprisingly given the fine weather during October many had already been picked including the vignes larges of Domaine des Baumard. Some others had probably already been partially picked and were waiting for the final sweep through the vines. However, close to where we stopped on the northern side of the track so in Chaume not Quarts de Chaume was a very well laden parcel of vines, which looked like it hadn't been picked at all. 

Parcel of vines near the Martinières track 


A generous crop...

Although the yields shown in the above photos are clearly generous it is more difficult to say whether they meet or exceed the criteria for Coteaux du Layon Premier Cru. Had they been to the south of the track and in the Quarts de Chaume it would have been clear that this crop exceeded the Q de C criteria, which are more strict than those for Chaume. In the Quarts de Chaume each vine may not have more than 1.7 kilos of grapes for a yield of 20 hl/ha (25 hl/ha rendement butoir). The potential alcohol minimum has to be 18%. The photos show more than 1.7 kilos per vine. 

However, Chaume does not have a weight limit per vine and the authorised yield is 25 hl/ha, which can be adjusted up to 30 hl/ha and the minimum potential alcohol is 16.5%. Difficult to say if the Chaume criteria have been exceeded here rather that the producer is pushing the envelope and isn't really in line with the spirit of a village premier cru sweet wine. 

You have to wonder if the Baumards may not after all have had a point when opposing Chaume 1er Cru!!       


Les Treilles and TGV du Layon 

After our picnic we headed back to Saint-Lambert taking the old railway line track along the northern bank of the Layon pased the Clos des Treilles now part of Domaine Belargus. The disused railway line is now a green route between Thouarce and Saint-Aubin-de-Luigné.  


Clos des Treilles

'L'ancienne ligne de chemin de fer Perray-Jouannet a été ouverte le 18 août 1884 et fut déclassée en 1954. D'une longueur de 26 km, elle était aussi appelée Ligne du Layon, car elle suivait ses méandres. Aujourd'hui, la partie située en Saint Aubin de Luigné et Thouarcé est aménagée en voie verte, sur 16 km.'


Beaulieu-Saint-Lambert Station
The steep sides of the northern side of the Layon
can be seen heading into the distance
The Clos des Treilles is part of this massif


We dropped in briefly to Domaine Belargus and saw Adrien Moreau, the wine-maker, and Franck. The 2021 harvest is tiny averaging around 10hl/ha but the quality is good both from the dry Chenin and the Quarts de Chaume with a potential alcohol of just over 23˚.

View eastwards from Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay
towards Rablay-sur-Layon

 Time for a few autumn colour photos before heading back to Eastern Touraine.






BobbyJohn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BobbyJohn said...

Jim, I love this exact area. I'm hoping to spend a week this year exploring the vineyards and domaines 'a pied'. Finding a friendly Chambres d'hote within walking distance of many of the top estates and also near an epicerie and a restaurant. Any ideas? Thank you very much.