Picker @ the Lieubeau vineyards
source of their Confluence cuvée
Melon de Bourgogne 2019
I spent last Wednesday and Thursday in Muscadet Sèvre et Maine to see how the 2019 vintage is progressing.
The official Ban des Vendanges for Muscadet was on Thursday 5th September. There were a few vignerons that started the day before but more general picking appears to have started during this week. Otherwise picking has been gradually getting underway with favourable weather conditions, even a little rain during Monday 8 to 12 mm. This case the rain should have been helpful as it has been very during here, although not as dry I think as in the Cher Valley.
As last year the grapes are very healthy with very little rot and quite often this is noble rather than ignoble. The crop, however, is substantially down on a normal year with an estimate of 250,000 hls, around half of normal. This is due primarily to the April frosts but the drought has further lowered the crop – small berries with not much juice inside.
Christophe Gadais (Domaine Gadais Père et Fils) told me that they had been fortunately not to have been severely hit by frost unlike many others in the region. He thought, however, that they had probably lost more of their crop through the drought due to the lack of juice in the berries. Curiously this was contradicted by Fred Laffer, who has taken over the Domaine Michel Brégeon, said he was surprised by how much juice there is the grapes this year.
Fred Laffer filling his press
Domaine Bonnet-Huteau (40% loss), Domaines Lieubeau (50% loss) and Domaine Luneau-Papin are among those producers badly hit by the frost, although all are happy with the quality of the fruit that remains. « In some parcels the yield is as low as 15 hl/ha, » said Pierre-Marie Luneau.
Luneau-Papin: fruit dropping onto the sorting table.
The Lieubeaus: Marie, Vincent et François
It is likely that the pace of picking will increase during this week as producers will want to avoid acidity levels dropping, especially as this weekend has been decidedly hot with temperatures around 30˚C.
At the moment the little 2019 juice that I have tasted appears to be well balanced.
Bernard Chereau and his daughter Louise tasting their 2019 juice
Friday on our way back from the Pays Nantais we dropped in on Domaines Ogereau and Belargus to see if picking had started. I was surprised to learn that some Chenin is already being picked. « Last Thursday we picked a parcel in Savennières that had been badly frosted, so the fruit that was left had ripened quickly, especially as these vines are planted on sandstone, » explained Emmanuel Ogereau.
At Belargus they have also started picking Chenin on Thursday – this time a parcel in the commune of Beaulieu. On Friday they were starting picking for Chenin Sec in the Quarts de Chaume.
Napa en Pays Nantais…..
Fred Niger (Domaine de l’Ecu) – Napa Cathedral under construction