Les 5 du Vin

5 journalistes parlent du vin

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27/4/2016 – une journée noire


La nature est parfois difficile avec ceux qui pour autant l’aiment encore.
Exemple confirmé à La Charpenterie.
Photo Sabrina Cyprien Caslot-Bourdin
près de La Chapelle-sur-Loire 

(Photo taken from a post by Sabrina Cyprien Caslot-Bourdin.
I hope my use of her very sad photo will be acceptable.) 


A severe Spring frost is a vigneron’s worst nightmare. Sadly frost struck in the Loire, Chablis and elsewhere in Burgundy as well as Champagne in the early hours of Wednesday 27th April. For those severely hit it must be truly horrible to know that there will there will be no harvest this year!

The signs for 2016 were not good – 13 moons and two horrible anniversaries: the February frost of 1956 – 60 years ago and the April frost of 1991 – 25 years ago.

Parts of the Loire were very severely hit by frost during the night of Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th.  Temperatures in a few places fell as low as – 6˚C.

As in April 1991 a lethal combination of damp ground from recent rain, clear overnight skies, very low temperatures in the latter part of the night followed by bright early morning sunshine has virtually destroyed the 2016 vintage in some sectors of the Loire.

Although it is too early to know the full extent of the damage some parts of the Loire have been very badly hit. The worst hit areas appear to be Bourgueil, Montlouis, Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil, Azay le Rideau and Touraine Noble. The important communes of Cravant-les-Coteaux and Panzoult in AOP Chinon are reported also badly affected.

Couly Dutheil, whose vines are mostly in the more western part of the Chinon appellation, reports that 20 hectares of their 90 are affected. In Ligré Jérôme Billard (Domaine de la Noblaie) finds that 20% of his vines have been affected by the frost. Mainly those less good parcels parcels that Jérôme reserves for his rosé. Here the damage is as high as 60%, while in his best parcels of Cabernet Franc for his reds only 10% of the vines appear to have been hit.

Guillaume Lapaque, director of FAV37*, told Decanter: “Noble Joué has lost 94% of this harvest, 70% in Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and 50% in Chinon. Overall Appellation Touraine has been much less affected.”

Sabine Corsin, Syndicat de Montlouis reported a 90% loss in Saint-Martin-le-Beau with 50% loss in the appellation’s other two communes. Losses in Vouvray are reported to be less overall and more variable.

Jacky Blot (Domaine de la Taille aux Loups – Montlouis, Vouvray) expects to make 25% of normal if all goes well from here. In contrast the outlook is more optimistic for his Domaine de la Butte (Bourgueil). Here the loss is 20% essentially Pied de la Butte on the flatter ground. The rest of the vines on the steep slope are intact.

In Saumur-Champigny the communes of Chacé, Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg and Varrains have been badly hit. Closer to the Loire damage is much less. “We have lost 10%,” said Florence Chevallier (Château de Villeneuve).

“We have been very badly hit in our vineyards which are close to the River Layon,” said Emmanuel Ogereau (Domaine Ogereau, Anjou). However, we have no damage in Savennières where our vines are on high ground.”

The picture in the Pays Nantais appears to be very variable. Domaine Luneau-Papin (Muscadet) has suffered damage in some parcels, while others haven’t been touched.

“A third of my vines have been badly hit with up to 100% loss in some parcels, one third slightly affected and one third not touched at all,” said Vincent Caillé, Domaine Faye d’Homme (Muscadet). However, fans of Vincent and Christelle Guibert’s Terre d’Gneiss will be relieved that this boutique parcel was spared.

In the Central Loire Vineyards Benoît Roumet, the director of Les Vins du Centre, reports that Menetou-Salon, Pouilly-Fumé, Quincy and Reuilly have all been hit to a greater of lesser degree. Sancerre, in contrast, has largely escaped. However, Roumet cautions that things will be clearer next week.

Although this April frost may not be as extensive as that of 1991, wine stocks would have been much higher after the very good and generous 1990 vintage. Now stocks are low after four small to below average vintages. On top of that you have to factor in the current annual loss from esca, which was not a factor back in 1991. Esca is not only one of the reasons why yields are lower than expected but there is also the constant cost of replacing dead vines.

Negotiations with government and banks to help to see badly hit producers through this crisis will start next week.


Photo from Pierre & Bertrand Couly


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Jacques Couly – au revoir Jacques !

Very shocked and sorry to hear last evening of the death of Jacques Couly, the PDG of Couly-Dutheil – one of Chinon’s largest producers – during the night of Friday/Saturday morning. Jacques was not only major figure both in Chinon but also in Loire wine.
It was very sad that his later years saw a bitter split with his elder brother Pierre Couly.
I will long remember Jacques for his enthusiasm, his kindness and his engaging smile.
Our thoughts and condolences to Arnaud, Jacques’ son, and the rest of the family.

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2016 Bourgueil à Tours

Fête Bourgueils

Saturday was Bourgueil’s annual Fête des Vins right in the centre of Tours. They camp in wooden huts along the central alley of the Boulevard Heurteloup, just a stone’s throw from Tours main railway station, associated bus terminal and the tramway – also close to the Hotel de Ville.

This edition was the 14th. It was the late Jean Germain, mayor of Tours and from Bourgueil, who was the impetus behind establishing this very successful fête. His successor as mayor – Serge Babary – was present for the official opening on Saturday showing his continued support for Bourgueil’s fête.

Serge Babary well wrapped up against the chill of Saturday morning 

Although rather courageously held in mid-March the weather is generally reasonably clement, although it was decidedly chilly early on Saturday before the sun came out. It was notable that most producers served their wines at room temperature i.e. freezing, while a few savvy ones, like Jacky Blot, brought hairdryers to warm their wines and so soften the tannins.

Like VitiLoire, held here in the centre of Tours at the end of May, the Fête des Vins de Bourgueil is a real success, an excellent shop window for the wines – attracting crowds of winelovers, particularly during the afternoon. It attracts a significant number of people in their 20s. With prices for Bourgueil starting at around 5€ and with two promising vintages – 2014 and 2015 – it is not surprising that many of the 41 producers present were doing a brisk trade in selling their wines.

I fancy that, like 1989 and 1990/1995 and 1996/2009 and 2010, there may well be a long running debate over the relative merits of 2014 and 2015. Certainly many 2014 Cabernet Francs from Chinon, Bourgueil, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Saumur and Saumur-Champigny are currently showing very well with fine concentration of ripe Loire fruit and lovely balance, although without the richness of very sunny years like 2005 and 2009. This recalls that it was the excellent September 2014 that saved the vintage after a poor July and August.

With few of the 2015s in bottle it is still too early to be sure of the character of this vintage and impressions vary from vigneron to vigneron. To date it has plenty of charm but a little less concentration than found in the 2014s. Although much of the summer was very dry, there was rain towards the end of August and then in mid-September a period of very heavy, torrential rain. The weather station at Tours recorded 87.6mm for September – well above the average of 53.2mm. Almost all of this rain fell between 12th and 16th, only 7.2mm fell outside this five day period. There were places that recorded considerably more rain – over 100mm during the five days.

2015 Cabernet Franc 

Although the Cabernet Franc withstood this onslaught remarkably well with no rot developing – greatly assisted by the sun and wind that followed the downpour – there must have been some dilution. Not necessarily a bad thing given the very dry summer. Whatever the relative merits of 2014 and 2015 the Loire has two good vintages to sell.

Aurélien Revillot

Sophie Raimbault

Among the producers, who impressed me on Saturday were: Domaine Ansodelles (especially 2014 Conversation), Domaine de la Chevalerie (especially 2014 Dyptique and 2011 Bretêche), Nau Frères (2014 Vieilles Vignes), Yannick Amirault (especially 2013 Le Grand Clos – impressive for such a difficult vintage), Domaine Menard (especially 2014 Les Jardins des Raisin),  Jacky Blot (especially 2014 Pied de la Butte, 2014 Haut de la Butte – both sold out), Domaine Dubois (especially 2014 Vieilles Vignes), Aurélien Revillot (especially 2013 Les Aubuis – success in a difficult vintage, 2014 Sur les Hauts), Nathalie Omasson (especially 2014 Vieilles Vignes – great value at 5€), Laurent Herlin (2014 Terre d’Adoption), Lamé Delisle Boucard (especially 2015 Cuvée des Chesnaies, 2014 Vieilles Vignes, 2011 Prestige), Audebert (especially 2011 Les Marquises), Domaine des Ouches (especially 2012 Les Clos Boireaux) and Domaine de Petit Bondieu (especially 2014 Petit Mont – showed much better than in a tasting September 2014, 2014 Les Couplets).

Santé !


Armand de Tilly – les pattes du vigneron …..







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Châteaumeillant @25



In 2009 you could probably have become a world expert on the wines of Châteaumeillant by spending a single day there. Today it will take a little longer before such a claim can be made as there are now 25 producers up from just the four or five in 2010.

Châteaumeillant, on the northern edge of the Massif Central, is very close to being plumb in middle of France. It is only 35 kilometres by road from Bruère-Allichamps, which claims the title of being the village that lies in centre of France.

Although there are 550 hectares classified as Châteaumeillant, there are only 86 hectares prestently in production with 3164 hectolitres made in 2013. At the end of the Second Empire (1870), however, there were 1200 hectares here before the region’s vines were badly hit by phylloxéra at the end of the 19th Century.

In 1965 Châteaumeillant became a VDQS and was promoted in 2010 to appellation contrôlée status when the VDQS designation was phased out. The only permitted grape varieties are Gamay and Pinot Noir along with Pinot Gris for rosés in the style of a vin gris. Due to the stupidities of the INAO the use of Pinot Noir is limited to 40% of the blend. In contrast pure Gamay is permitted. 98% of the production is sold in France with Belgium, Germany and Japan the principal destinations for the 2% exported.

Last week’s Salon des Vins de Loire was an excellent opportunity to catch up on recent developments in Châteaumeillant. I had been aware for a good couple of years that several Quincy producers now had vines in Châteaumeillant including Domaine Vincent Siret-Courtaud, who I think was the first to tell me of this interesting development. Vincent acquired three hectares of vines in Châteaumeillant in 2010 in addition to his 10 in Quincy.

Being able to make red and rosé wine is the obvious attraction for Quincy producers where Sauvignon Blanc is the only permitted variety. A good number of Quincy producers, like Jean Tatin and Chantal Wilk as well as Jacques Rouze, have vines in Reuilly but Châteaumeillant gives them another option.

As well as Vincent other Quincy producers with vines in Châteaumeillant include Domaine Jacques Rouze with 1.70 ha with 2012 as their initial vintage and Domaine Lecomte (Nicolas Lecomte) with three hectares and Domaine Roux (Albin Roux) with 3.3 ha.

One good innovation at this year’s Salon was to group a number of young producers together – several Châteaumeillant producers featured here. As well as Nicolas Lecomte, Vincent Siret-Courtaud and Albin Roux, there were two who are based solely in Châteaumeillant: Claire Goyer (Domaine Goyer) and Angelique Gabrielle.

Claire and Samuel, her husband, started their small domaine in 2013, so 2015 is their third vintage. Beginning with 1.3 hectares they have recently added a further hectare.

Angelique only started in June 2014 and has 4.44 hectares – 1.74 of Pinot Noir, 2.00 Gamay and 0.70 of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Her parents are vignerons between Chablis and Auxerre.

In contrast to those above, who all have quite small holdings, Domaine Nairaud is easily the largest concern with 20 hectares of vines and with its associated company Biturges Vins occupies the building where the former Cave Cooperative was based.

I was impressed by the general standard of these generally easy drinking wines, which should appeal to #winelovers who are now looking for lighter, less heavy reds. I am planning to visit Châteaumeillant soon, probably in June, and will then report back in more detail.

A suivre!

IMG_2001Angelique Gabrielle

IMG_1900 Vincent Siret-Courtaud 

IMG_1912Nicolas Lecomte

IMG_1915Albin Roux

IMG_1934Claire Goyer 

Côme Rouze

Fabrice Deterne, Domaine Nairaud


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Contre étiquette, l’envers du décor

bar Envers du Décor

L’Envers du Décor est le nom d’un célèbre et excellent bistrot à vin, situé à Saint Emilion et propriété de François de Ligneris, pour qui j’ai beaucoup d’affection. Mais cela n’est pas du tout le sujet de ma chronique d’aujourd’hui !


La contre-étiquette est de plus en plus utilisée sur des bouteilles de vin, et contient de plus en plus de mots et de signes. C’est un outil de communication et d’information qui peut être très utile, voire nécessaire. Pour une bonne partie, comme dans l’exemple ci-dessus, venu des USA, il est fortement chargé de mentions légales. Mais est-il toujours bien utilisé par les producteurs ?


Je veux d’abord souligner l’écart, parfois frappant et redoutable, entre la vérité telle que nous le percevons et le discours des producteurs de vin et leurs diverses antennes « communicantes ». Ce qui a déclenché mon envie d’évoquer cette distorsion entre réalité et discours a été notre dégustation d’un vin d’Ardèche, mis en parallèle avec le texte imprimé sur son contre-étiquette. Un collègue a perçu exactement la même chose dans cette instance, alors il s’agit peut-être d’autre chose qu’une simple lubie personnelle. Cela aurait très bien pu arriver avec un vin d’ailleurs : là n’est pas la question, car je n’ai rien contre les vins d’Ardèche en particulier.

Commençons par les commentaires de dégustation tels qu’ils apparaissent sur la contre-étiquette de ce vin, nommé Chatus, Monnaie d’Or 2012. Le chatus est une variété rouge, rare et plutôt tannique, ancienne car mentionnée par Olivier de Serres et qu’on trouve dans l’Ardèche, mais aussi dans le Piémont sous le nom de Neiret.  Je prends encore mes précautions en soulignant que  ceci n’est pas une critique de cette variété, mais juste du lien défectueux entre ce vin (honnête, par ailleurs) et sa contre-étiquette.


Le commentaire imprimé sur la contre-étiquette :

« arômes de cassis, de pâte de coing, de figues sèches et de réglisse » Et c’est tout, car rien n’est dit sur les impressions tactiles ou gustatives en bouche du vin : tout semble se passer au pif ou bien en rétro-olfaction.

Mon commentaire sur le même vin (uniquement olfactif) :

« arômes de terre humide et de sous-bois, notes de fruits rouges frais et cuits avec un léger accent boisé et animal. »

Je sais bien que l’appréciation des arômes est une affaire individuelle, mais quand-même !

Mieux encore, cette même contre-étiquette conseille de servir le vin à 20° et d’ouvrir la bouteille 6 heures avant le service ! Servir n’importe quel vin rouge à une telle température me semble une aberration qui a pour résultats principaux de déséquilibrer les sensations vers l’alcool et de détruire la finesse des saveurs. Conseiller au consommateurs d’ouvrir un vin 6 heures avant le service, surtout pour un vin qui ne sera jamais (je pense) mis sur une table en grande cérémonie, ne relève pas d’un sens aigu du réalisme. Ce vin est vendu autour de 8 euros, donc je doute que beaucoup de consommateurs aillent le préparer à la dégustation 6 heures avant. Il faut être plus terre à terre dans les usages !

Quand aux conseils d’accompagnement pour ce vin, la contre-étiquette brasse large : « ce vin charpenté accompagne à merveille daube de sanglier, cuisine provençale et fromages typés ». Pas facile à trouver, le sanglier, dans nos villes ou la plupart des habitants de ce pays vivent ! La cuisine provençale est assez diversifiée, faisant un usage important de légumes et, proche de la méditerranée, elle est souvent très poissonneuse. De quels mets parle-t-on exactement ? Quant aux fromages « typés », je ne sais pas trop ce que cela voudrait dire. Supposons qu’il s’agit de fromages aux goûts forts. Dans ce cas, le consommateur curieux pourra courir chez son fromager chercher un camembert, un époisses, un roquefort ou un banon, par exemple. Avec chacun des ces fromages, l’accord avec le vin en question, qui est plutôt tannique, serait catastrophique !

Quittons ce mauvais exemple pour regarder d’autres options. Il y a plusieurs catégories parmi les contre-étiquettes. D’abord la minimaliste. Dans celle-ci on trouve bon nombre de vins dépourvus de tout contre-étiquette.  Cette option est surtout réservée aux producteurs qui s’en foutent parce qu’ils vendent leurs vins à des gens qui les achètent pour leur étiquette faciale, ou bien qui ne savent pas lire.

La catégorie qui est sûrement la plus remplie est celle du « bla-bla enflé », dite aussi « pompe-à-vélo ». Ce type de texte va chanter les louages de la « noblesse du terroir », du « grand raffinement » ou de la « finale magistrale » du vin en question (tous ces exemples sont réels).


Mais quelques producteurs honnêtes, et j’espère qu’ils seront de plus en plus nombreux, adoptent une approche purement factuelle et informative. Je trouve l’étiquette ci-dessus d’un vin de Loire (Château de Fesles, Bonnezeaux) exemplaire. J’en ai aussi rencontré plusieurs lors de mon récent voyage en Champagne. Ceux-ci se contentent d’indiquer sur leurs contre-étiquettes les origines parcellaires ou communales des raisins, de mentionner éventuellement l’approche culturelle dans leur vignoble, de nommer le ou les cépages et leur proportions, de préciser la durée de mise en cave ou la date du tirage et de dégorgement du vin, etc. La seule critique qu’on pourrait émettre à ce méthode « carte de visite » est qu’il s’adresse exclusivement à des professionnels ou à des amateurs avertis qui savent déduire de ces informations techniques ce qu’il convient de déduire, sans préjuger de leur avis sur le vin en question. Il s’agit de l’information pure et précise.

vin de merde


fine grapes

Boire tue

J’aime bien aussi une dernière catégorie, rare mais avec de beaux exemples que je montre ci-dessus, qui relève de l’humour ou de la dérision. Elle existe souvent dans un contexte particulier, et souvent en réaction à des législations perçues comme excessives, ou bien à des excès de la catégorie « bla-bla enflé » déjà mentionnée.


Donc il faut se battre, non seulement contre les cougars (autre nom du mountain lion, ou puma), mais aussi contre une mauvaise communication sur les contre-étiquettes.



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Oenotourism – fermer le weekend !

IMG_9941Pique-nique chez le vigneron – Montlouis 


Table ronde: Oenotourism – fermer le weekend !
I have just spent a few In Tours for the 11th Rencontres François Rabelais where I was a member of a round table on wine tourism in the Loire.

My fellow panelists were Jean-Max Manceau (Domaine de Noiré, Chinon), Pascal Pringarbe (Château la Morinière) and we were kept in order by Jean-Claude Bonnaud (editor of Vin Ligérien), who also set the scene for the session.

There were two main points that I wanted to put over. Firstly that with so many of the Loire domaines being long-standing family concerns or run by people, who have given up another career to become wine producers, is a big plus. Whatever one thinks for the growth of the ‘natural wine’ movement it reflects a desire amongst some regular wine drinks for authenticity.

The Loire can provide this authenticity. Often the visitor to a Loire domaine will meet the producer or one of their family. Few estates, apart mainly from the co-operatives and the sparkling wine producers, can afford or wish to employ guides to look after visitors. This immediately sets the Loire apart, for instance, from the top level of Bordeaux and grandes marques Champagne

Of course the Loire’s family orientation has its constraints. A small wine producer now has to wear many hats – good in the vineyard, in the winery, able to market and sell their wines and now increasing good at communicating, especially using social media. All this means that many Loire producers work very long hours. Not surprising that there is a reluctance to welcome visitors over the weekend, especially on Sundays.

However, if you are seriously interested in oenotourism (wine tourism) you have to be open over the weekend. It is over the weekend that people are free to visit wineries. Increasing people take a short break often spanning a weekend, so it actually probably makes more sense to be open during the weekend than during the week.

To which the producer and their family may well reasonably object that they need a break – that they cannot work 24/7. This is where cooperation, which was a recurring theme during our session, comes in. There are ways of improving the offer to visitors, which doesn’t cost a lot of money.

Bourgueil has a programme of Portes Ouvertes from April through to late September/October. Every weekend there are, at least, two domaines ready to welcome visitors. Thus the load is spread and provides visitors with domaines to visit where they will often fine special offers plus food etc. that makes the visit memorable.

It may well be that other Loire appellations have similar arrangements but I am not aware of any. This highlights another theme: using social media and blogs to publicise your events. True it takes time but is not that difficult given the amount of time people now spend on smart phones or tablets that finding time to fire off a few tweets or Facebook invitation should be relatively easy.

Being open, at times, during the weekend also makes commercial sense. Pascal Pringarbe (Château la Morinière), who offers accommodation, meals etc., between Cholet and Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay recounted how he sells 3,000 bottles of wine a year to clients, who have tasted a wine in his restaurant and who want to visit the producer. The bad news for the wine lover is that the producer is closed over the weekend but they can buy from Pascal. Sales gained by Pascal but lost by the producer!

Jean-Max Manceau is convinced that the Loire producers do not take sufficient pride in their patrimonie unlike those in Burgundy, for example.

A final thought – the annual pique-nique is a brilliant idea from Les Vignerons Indépendants. I have been to a number and it is always a very convivial occasion with visitors bringing their own picnic and the vignerons providing the wine. It is highly likely that the producers sell more wine than they open to the happy and relaxed picnickers, who have probably been converted into ambassadors for the estate.

Unfortunately it is only held once a year usually in May. Why isn’t this or something similar run in August when there are many more foreign visitors and well as French people on holiday?!

Jim Jmmsache1.11.15s.jpg

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Oak in Sauvignon in Loire and Bordeaux

Last week I was very pleased to be present at a fascinating and well organised tasting – a comparison of the aging potential of oaked Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux and from the Loire. The Bordeaux component was organised by Richard Bampfield MW and Jean-Christophe Mau, while Chris Kissack – the wine doctor – occupied the Loire selection. The idea was to show a relatively recent vintage along with an older one. 

I have to say from the outset that having tasted all the wines I felt no need to change my allegiance away from the Loire. Where the oak on the Loires was well-judged, it was often more marked on those from Bordeaux. The Loires also had a freshness that few of the Bordeaux wines did.


Just to show that this wasn’t just my inherent bias Jean-Christophe Mau generously praised the Loire Sauvignons in the report in The Drinks Business:


‘Also at the tasting was Jean-Christophe Mau, owner and manager of Pessac-Leognan estate Château Brown. Commenting on the comparison of oaked Sauvignon Blancs from the Loire Valley and Bordeaux, Mau said he believed the Bordeaux region was lagging behind the Loire in terms of style and value.


 “I think they have too much oak, the Bordeaux style, too much extraction also,” he said. “And maybe the acidity is not at a good level; sometimes it is too high.
“For a lot of people who make wine in Bordeaux it’s more important to make red than white. The vision for white is maybe too much a vision of the red.

 “For most of the people the top quality from Sauvignon is from the Loire Valley. We have begun to change that in Bordeaux but the prices for the top wine, I think, are too expensive.”


All of the Loires shown came from the Central Vineyards, so a continental climate in contrast to the maritime climate of Bordeaux. In a sense it wasn’t entirely a comparison of equals as all the Loire wines were pure Sauvignons, while from Bordeaux there were no pure varietal Sauvignons: all were blends. Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte with 90% Sauvignon Blanc had the highest proportion with just 5% each of Sauvignon Gris and Sémillon.


I suspect that the reason for the Loire’s success in the delicate use of oak comes down to the region’s long experiment – now virtually a tradition – of little use of barriques – either 225 or 228 litres. Instead 400 to 600 litre barrels (demi-muids) and increasing small wooden vats, often from Stockinger and around 12 hectolitres capacity. This immediately reduces the influence of the oak as the proportion of liquid to oak is increased.

I think Jean-Christophe has part of the explanation when he says that Bordeaux producers tends to think red first, so the size of the barrel that is used for red tends also to be used for the whites. Whereas, in the Loire, where whites overall make up around 55% of production and a much higher proportion in the Central Vineyards, the thinking has long been very different. The choice, when oak is used, has increasingly been what best suits my white wines.  

Later Richard suggested that Jean-Christophe may well be thinking of experimenting in the future with larger sized barrels for his whites.

My grateful thanks to the organisers: Chris, Jean-Christophe and Richard.       

The Loire Sauvignons:

La Tour Saint Martin, Bertrand Minchin – 2012 and 2002
The 2002 was the most evolved Loire in the tasting but attractively honeyed

2012 and 2008 Alain Cailbourdin Triptyque: neither vintage showing noticeable oak
believe that 2008 was first vintage

2012 and 2002 Tradition Cullus, Pouilly-Fumé, Masson Blondelet
The still tight 2012 had just been bottled, while the 2002 provided further
evidence of what a lovely vintage this is.

  2012 and 2002 Silex, Domaine Didier Dagueneau with the 2012
made by Louis-Benjamin Dagueneau
Unfortunately by the time I got to the 2002 there was
only a dribble left in the bottle but still showing lovely freshness and length .
Amongst all the wines shown the only corked bottle was the back up bottle
of 2002 Silex – sod’s or corks’ law!

2012 and 2010 Cul de Beaujeu, Sancerre Lucien Crochet
I believe 2010 was the first vintage of Gilles’ single vineyard
bottling from the very steep vineyard that dominates Chavignol to the west.

2012 and 2008 Satellite, Sancerre, Alphonse Mellot
From Les Monts Damnés
2012 particularly impressive

2012 and 2008 Petit Chemarin, Sancerre, Vincent Pinard
with the evolved 2008 particularly impressive

2012 and 2002 Etienne Henri, Sancerre, Henri Bourgeois
I found the 2002 was quite honeyed whereas
one of my colleagues found it quite oaky.
I think I may still have a bottle of the 1987 acquired
during my first visit to Henri Bourgeois in late October 1987 –
the first time I met Jean-Marie Bourgeois


From Bordeaux: 

2012 Les Arums, Château Lagrange
2012, 2010, 2009 Château Brown
2012 Caillou Blanc, Château Talbot
2012, 2010, 2006, Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte
2012, 1999 Domaine de Chevalier
2012 Pape-Clément
2012, 2006 Y’ d’Yquem, Château d’Yquem


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