Les 5 du Vin

5 journalistes parlent du vin


14 Commentaires

Central Loire Vineyards – 1990 – 2017

CrossSancerres

1990 - 2017a

The last 27 years has seen very considerably changes in the Central Loire Vineyards. With one sole exception it has been a tale of success and expansion. It is fascinating to compare the area planted in each of the Central Loire appellation in 1990 with the area planted in 2017.

An overall increase of 2451 hectares in production – a 77% increase – are the headline figures. However, the dramatic revival of appellations such as Quincy and Reuilly that in the 1970s and for much of the 1980s are perhaps the most interesting. The revival of Reuilly owes much to the late Claude Lafond, who had the vision to persuade the few producers to work together and to establish a common wine-making facility above the small town of Reuilly. It was similar in neighbouring Quincy where a common winery was built at the village of Brinay. These wineries are different from a cave co-operative. Here the producers make with guidance, keep and sell their own wine themselves. The facilities are shared but not the wine.

Equally the expansion of Menetou-Salon up by nearly 200% from 196 hectares in 1990 to 576 ha last year is impressive. Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé have seen the largest increase in terms of hectares – 1032 ha and 580ha respectively.

Pouilly-sur-Loire – 100% Chasselas – is the only appellation in decline: slipping from 56 hectares planted in 1990 to just 27 last year. Doubtless those lost hectares of Chasselas have been replanted with Sauvignon Blanc – Pouilly-Fumé is so much easier to sell.

The changes in the Central Loire are in marked contrast with the contraction in the area planted with Melon de Bourgogne for Muscadet in the Pays Nantais. In 1990 all the Muscadet appellations covered 11,280 hectares – this doesn’t include Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu which was promoted to appellation status in 1994. At its highest point Muscadet reached some 13300 hectares. By 2016 this area had dropped to a total of 8200 ha. Of these Muscadet Sèvre et Maine accounted for 6300 ha, Côtes de Grandlieu – 230 ha, Coteaux de la Loire – 150 ha.

Even with this sharp contraction Muscadet (820 ha) is still substantially larger than the whole of the Central Vineyard combined – 5750 hectares.

 

Visit to FilipaP

 

 


25 Commentaires

Andrew Jefford on Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé – all things are not equal

The cross above Chavignol with 

the often present Sancerre in the distance

 

There is a very good post (Sancerre and friends) by Andrew Jefford on decanter.com today. Not a surprise that Andrew’s article is good. No the surprise is that this is the first time that such a long established wine writer has visited Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and the other Central Loire appellations. Andrew has been covering wine for over 30 years now and starting before areas like Argentina, Australia, Chile and South Africa have risen to prominence.

Whatever – it is clear from  Andrew’s photos that he visited Sancerre during the autumn. Hopefully he enjoyed the often magnificent show of autumn colours that this most picturesque and spectacular Loire provides. 

As ever Andrew’s observations are acute noting that good whites from here do not have the obvious Sauvignon Blanc characteristics, the differences in terroir between Pouilly and Sancerre as well as the Kimmeridgian Crescent that starts in Champagne passes through Pouilly, Sancerre, Menetou-Salon and is below ground by the time it reaches Quincy. 

The differences between Sancerre and Pouilly? Taste-wise not at all easy. I suspect in a blend tasting it would be more down to pot luck for me.  The differences that are most apparent are geographical and topographical. Sancerre clearly has a bigger area that is suitable for vines. More importantly, I think, it has in the town of Sancerre a real focus and centre that Pouilly sorly lacks. A very significant proportion of Appellation Sancerre faces Sancerre town. 

In contrast the vineyards of Pouilly run north to south. This probably wouldn’t matter if the appellation had a recognisable centre. After all Burgundy’s Côte d’Or also runs north to south but has lively Beaune to provide a focus for both the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune. Pouilly-sur-Loire is very sadly moribund and increasingly so. This is in very stark contrast to the lively and thriving town of Sancerre. The glory days of Pouilly-sur-Loire, when it was a staging post on the Route Nationale 7 – the road southwards to the sunshine and immortalised by Charles Trenet – are very long gone.

Pouilly-sur-Loire suffers from the curse of the Autoroute 77, which by-passes the town, and has gradually drained away its lifeblood. My guess is that most residents do their shopping in supermarkets of Cosne or in La Charité. 

Sancerre has also been blessed with a series of dynamic producers and leaders, who from the 1950s have traveled to sell their wines. Initially to Paris and then more recently around the globe. These include the Mellots, the Bourgeois, Vacherons, Jean-Max Roger, Vincent Pinard and others

Once again, in contrast, Pouilly has few obvious leaders. Certainly the late Didier Dagueneau had a strong personality with equally strong views but was really a rebel with a cause – as likely to chastise his colleagues as to lead them. Baron Patrick de Ladoucette is Pouilly’s leading producer in terms of vines planted. He appears a distant aristocratic figure. In just under 30 years I have met him once – a rather strained visit and meeting with the great man at Château de Nozet.     

It is surely significant that when the Bureau du Central Loire was founded, Pouilly preferred for a number of years not to join the organisation. The Pouilly producers have, however, got together for their wine centre – La Tour du Pouilly-Fumé. Sancerre has its Maison des Sancerre.

Finally in the Anglophone world Sancerre is much easier to pronounce than Pouilly-Fumé.

 

Visit to FilipaP

 

 


        Orange whine


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Central Loire Vineyards: forthcoming events

Events: 14th August to 9th September 2017 

Plenty of events here for the diaries of those of you in the Central Loire vineyards for the next month or so. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibitions:

 

NouveauOs


24 Commentaires

Bain vs INAO

Alexandre Bain
Alexandre Bain (Photo (c) Jim Budd)

Je n’ai pas le plaisir de connaître Alexandre Bain, vigneron de Tracy, ni ses vins. Et peut-être que c’est mieux ainsi, si je veux tenter d’émettre un avis impartial.

D’après Corinne Caillaud, du Figaro, qui semble bien le connaître, bien qu’elle traite rarement de vin, il s’agit d’un bon vigneron. Il appartient à la mouvance nature, et selon ses propres termes « il cherche une autre voie ». C’est, je cite toujours, « un homme dont la passion est de réaliser un pur vin de terroir ».
Rien de mal à cela, mais pas non plus de quoi lui valoir une notoriété nationale, ni les honneurs de la rubrique économie/entreprise du Figaro; sauf qu’en septembre 2015, M. Bain s’est vu retirer l’appellation Pouilly-Fumé pour ne pas s’être soumis à un contrôle obligatoire.
Un peu moins de deux ans plus tard, le tribunal administratif de Dijon a jugé que la sanction était abusive, car disproportionnée, et vient donc de lui rendre l’appellation. Et avec elle, selon les termes de ma consœur, « sa fierté ».

Dont acte. La dignité de M. Bain et ses choix en matière culturale n’ont d’ailleurs jamais été mis en cause. Pour tout dire, je ne vois même pas ce qu’ils viennent faire dans un article censé faire la lumière sur une décision de justice. Les déclarations de M. Bain ne m’y aident pas vraiment non plus: « J’espère avoir ouvert une voie, parce qu’une autre viticulture est possible », souligne-t-il. Parle-t-il d’une viticulture sans intrants? Ou d’une viticulture sans contrôles?

Joker

Moi qui ne suis a priori ni pour ni contre le naturisme, la biodynamie, le bio, ou toute autre forme de conduite de la vigne, et qui ai plutôt tendance à me ranger du côté du vigneron sincère que de la machine administrative et des règlements superflus, je reste sur ma faim. Quel était donc l’objet du contrôle? Pourquoi M. Bain n’a-t-il pas pu s’y soumettre? Enfin, et surtout, quel sens faut-il donner à la décision du tribunal?
Si elle fait jurisprudence, quels seront donc à présent les moyens de contrôle d’une appellation sur les vignerons qui s’en réclament?
À quels contrôles peut-on se soustraire? À quels contrôles ne peut-on pas se soustraire? Et à quelle fréquence?
Si la perte de l’AOC est une sanction disproportionnée en cas d’impossibilité de contrôle, quelle sanction plus proportionnée peut-elle être appliquée, tout en défendant les intérêts du consommateur censé faire confiance à la mention?
Question subsidiaire, qui me semble découler du joli story telling de ma consœur du Figaro, les vignerons « qui cherchent une autre voie » devraient-ils bénéficier ils d’un joker face aux contrôles, au motif qu’ils seraient plus sympathiques, plus tendance ou parce qu’ils vendent bien leurs vins?
L’avocat de M. Bain, Maître Éric Morain, semble bien argumenter en ce sens: pour lui, « il est temps d’ouvrir le chantier des réformes des contrôles et la reconnaissance des pratiques de vinification naturelle». J’ai du mal à comprendre: si la vinification est naturelle, quel problème il y a-t-il à la contrôler?

Obligation de moyens, ou de résultat?

À défaut de mettre les points sur tous ces i-là, je crains fort que le message ne soit brouillé, chez les vignerons en appellation. Rappelons que jusqu’à présent, ces vignerons choisissent volontairement de revendiquer une mention et de se soumettre à ses contraintes. Il s’agit d’un patrimoine partagé.
Il convient d’être plus précis. Essayons donc de mettre de côté tout affect pour ne retenir que les faits. Une des cuvées de M. Bain a bel et bien fait l’objet d’un contrôle d’agrément (ou plutôt, comme il faut dire depuis 2008, d’habilitation). Dommage que ce ne soit pas précisé dans l’article du Figaro. Elle a été refusée au motif qu’elle était oxydée. Un défaut que M. Bain a contesté. Pour lui, « c’est une affaire de goût ». Dans ce cas, un recours est possible et une deuxième dégustation doit avoir lieu. Plusieurs rendez-vous pour ce faire ont été annulés entre mars et septembre 2015, dont un, en raison des vendanges. Cependant, M. Bain nie s’être soustrait aux contrôles; et déclare avoir fait appel de sa rétrogradation « pour une question de principe » (car ses vins, même sans appellation, ont apparemment continué à bien se vendre).
Il y a cependant une autre question de principe, pour moi: au fond, M. Bain reconnaît-il à ses pairs le droit de juger ses vins?
Il faudrait à présent ouvrir un deuxième procès: celui de la typicité. A quel point peut-on s’écarter du type moyen d’une appellation sans la perdre? Et que faut-il faire d’un vin qui respecterait l’obligation de moyens (le cahier des charges), mais qui présenterait un défaut à l’arrivée, ou au moins une déviance par rapport au type supposé de l’appellation, lors de la dégustation d’agrément (pardon, d’habilitation)? Même si dans sa décision, le Tribunal administratif de Dijon ne s’est pas attaché à la qualité du produit, mais s’est plutôt intéressé au déséquilibre qu’il pouvait y avoir entre la faute de M. Bain, jugée peu grave, et sa sanction, cette décision a tout de même pour effet qu’un Pouilly-Fumé jugé oxydé par la commission d’agrément retrouve sa place dans l’appellation. Ce qui n’est pas tout à fait anodin.
On pourrait bien sûr supprimer les dégustations d’habilitation. Ce serait le plus simple. D’autant que le pourcentage de refus est assez faible. Mais les AOC y perdraient sans doute en cohésion (ne parlons pas de crédibilité, elle varie trop d’une appellation à l’autre).
Une autre piste serait d’en dispenser les vins nature, moyennant un avertissement au consommateur, du genre: « Ce vin nature peut présenter de sensibles différences par rapport au type de son appellation ».
Le seul hic – très justement soulevé par l’avocat de M. Bain: les pratiques de la vinification dite naturelle ne sont pas reconnues légalement. Le mot même de nature ou de naturel prête à confusion; pensons aux Vins Doux Naturels (pourtant bien soufrés); et plus globalement, à tous les producteurs honnêtes qui soufrent leurs vins, mais qui n’auraient pas trop envie que le législateur réserve le mot  « nature » aux vins sans soufre.
Cette affaire nous promet de jolis développements.

Hervé Lalau


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2017 Loire – « très compliqué ! » « plus rien »

Gel27.4.2016
Frost destruction: April 2016
For the second successive year the Loire, along with many other vineyards both in France and elsewhere in Europe, has been hit by a series of April frosts. Just as in 2016 it has been a whole series of early morning frosts running over 10 days from 19th April through to 29th April. In some places it was up to five nights of frost in others it was even six.
This pattern of April frosts is strikingly different from before when it tended to be one night of frost as it was with the severe 1991 and the early April frost of 2003. Instead in both 2016 and 2017 Loire producers have faced a succession of frosts often striking different parts of the vineyard on different nights.
Naturally successive frosts are very tiring and dispiriting to fight and the morale of many Loire producers is now low after the last fortnight of April, especially as mild weather in March had brought the vines on early.

This year many Loire producers have fought back against the frost using helicopters, more wind machines than in previous years as well as burning bales of straw. Anything to raise the temperature.

It is still too early to have a full picture of the damage. Nor is the damage evenly spread along the valley. In some places, like Muscadet, the damage is worse than it was last year as it is in Savennières, while overall in Touraine the damage is less than last year. Naturally this is of little comfort to producers who have suffered severe losses with some producers in Muscadet, for example, have lost their entire 2017 crop – ‘plus que rien’ remains.

There are rumours of producers deciding to quit because the succession of difficult years, especially if they have been severely hit by frost two years running. Others able to hang on will have a very complicated year managing how to allocate their greatly reduced stocks and to keep their bankers happy. This is likely to be especially delicate for those producers who have recently made significant investments – in a new winery for example.
François Robin, La fédération des vins de Nantes 
‘The 2017 frosts are more serious than last year with around 40%-50% of our vineyards affected, although we will not have a full picture until the end of this week. Damage is variable depending upon site and how far temperatures fell in particular areas.Unfortunately the heart of the Sèvre-et-Maine – Vallet, Mouzillon, Clisson and La Chapelle-Heulin – are the worst affected. The south of the Sèvre-et-Maine, around Saint-Fiacre, for example, is not as affected nor overall the Coteaux de la Loire and Côtes de Grandlieu.’

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Emmanuel Ogereau

Emmanuel Ogereau (Domaine Ogereau, Saint-Lambert-duLattay, Anjou)
Emmanuel Ogereau (Domaine Ogereau): “Savennières was wiped out on 27th – only 10% of the crop remains and there is also severe damage in other parts of Anjou, especially around Rochefort-sur-Loire and Chaudefonds-sur-Layon. There was another frost in Savennières the following night but that had little effect as the damage had already been done the night before.

In Saint-Lambert we have lost between 30%-40% with our Chenin being particularly badly hit. Parts of the Coteaux d’Aubance have been seriously affected especially vineyards close to the river.”

Tessa Laroche, Domaine aux Moines, Savennières
Tessa Laroche confirmed Emmanuel’s report on Savennières: « We have lost 80% of our crop. »

Marie-Anne Simonneau, Syndicat de Saumur-Champigny
We had five mornings of frost – April: 20th, 21st, 27th, 28th and 29th. Each time different parts of the appellation were hit including parcels usually are not frosted. Happily not all of the appellation has been hit but equally some domaines have suffered serious losses.
Patrick Vadé: Domaine Saint Vincent Saumur-Champigny (commune of Saumur)
« The damage is worse than last year. There were two episodes of frost. The first particularly on the morning of Thursday 20th April and then the following week for three successive early mornings: 27th, 28th and 29th.The frost on the 20th hit the higher parts of the Saumur-Champigny appellation, which usually escapes the frost. For instance I’ve lost around 15% from my lower slopes. The frosts in the second week – 27th, 28th and 29th – hit the lower parts of the appellation that are prone to frost – St Cyr, Chacé etc. Some producers have lost virtually 100%.

Talking to the Cave Robert et Marcel (the Cave Co-operative of St Cyr) they have lost 20% of their 1800 hectares.

The frost of Saturday 29th was a surprise as the forecast was for + 2 but then for a brief period early in the morning the temperature dropped to minus 2 with a white frost. It all happened very quickly. »

Because of the favourable forecast most producers were tucked up in bed so not in a position to attempt to alleviate this final April frost.

Guillaume Lapaque, Vins de Bourgueil and directeur at Fédération des Associations Viticoles d’Indre-et-Loire et de la Sarthe 
Overall the 2017 frost has been much less devastating in Indre et Loire than in 2016. We calculate that the loss in the département is in the order of 15%, whereas last year it was 50%.

There are, however, areas that have been very badly hit. These include Azay-le-Rideau (over 60% loss) with the exception of Château de l’Aulée which used a helicopter. Touraine Noble Joué has also been hit again – 45% in 2017 and even more last year – 85%. Savigny-en-Véron and Beaumont in Chinon are badly hit with producers losing virtually all their crop. In Touraine Amboise the area around the town was hit – in particular the Domaine la Grange Tiphaine – while Limeray, on the north bank of the Loire, wasn’t affected. Unfortunately losses in Montlouis are around 40%.

This year producers fought back against the frost, while last year they were taken by surprise. We had seventeen helicopters – 7 in Montlouis, 5 in Bourgueil and 5 elsewhere.

The forecast on Saturday 29th was wrong as above freezing temperatures were forecast when instead they fell below zero. Unfortunately we had stood the helicopters down.

BU0A0992

Stéphanie Degaugue with Patricia Boucard (right)

Patricia Boucard, Lamé Delisle Boucard
« Fortunately our losses through the frost this year are much less than last year – around 20%. The effects are very variable and seems to depend upon the air currents. We used a helicopter as well as burning bales of straw.

Jacky Blot, Domaine de la Taille aux Loups 
« Morale is low. Taking 2016 and 2017 together we have one harvest in two years. Fortunately Domaine de la Butte in Bourgueil wasn’t touched. Also our wind machine saved most of the Clos Mosny – 80% of the Clos is OK with just between a hectare and 1.5 hectares affected. Also Clos Michet wasn’t hit but the parcels we use for Rémus are very badly hit. Across in Vouvray we have a 50% loss in Bretonnière with the lower part badly hit.

Inevitably our prices will have to rise with our bankers urging that prices have to go up. This wouldn’t be the case if we regularly had a vintages like 2015 when we made around 37 hl/ha, which is what we aim for.’

Benoît Roumet, director of Bureau du Centre Vignobles du Centre Loire
Benoît reports that it is a mixed picture in the Central Vineyards.
« Pouilly and the Coteaux du Giennois have been hit by the frost but Giennois less than in 2016. The northern part of Sancerre around Sainte-Gemme-en-Sancerrois has been hit. Also Châteaumeillant has been seriously affected. Elsewhere those parts of Quincy not protected by wind machines have losses – but 80% of the appellation has wind machine protection and there are no significant losses in Reuilly.

Menetou-Salon, which was very badly hit last year, has not been hit this year.’       

 

 

 


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2016 Loire – to have and have not

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Sancerre town rises above the mist – viewed from the Côte des Monts Damnés

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Layers of mist highlighting the main road from Sancerre to Bourges – the line of trees

Today I am am following on from last week’s post The Agony & the Ecstasy covering the nearly two days we spent in Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé and briefly Menetou-Salon early last week.

If there is any Loire appellation that could stand a difficult and virtually non-existent vintage, it is Sancerre. Instead, if there is any substantial Ligerian appellation that has come through this ‘very complicated year’ relatively unscathed it is Sancerre. Indeed there appear to be a good number of Sancerre producers who have enjoyed a normal to bumper crop in 2016.

« It’s almost scandalous! » admitted Philippe Prieur of Domaine Paul Prieur in Verdigny.

Sancerre – the haves:

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Paul and Benoît Fouassier
 (Sancerre)
We started on Monday 3rd October and finished on the 14th. Our Sauvignon Blanc was hit by frost, coulure and then the drought with a significant amount of these grapes burnt by the heat of July and August. We haven’t fully calculated the yields yet but it is between 30hl-40hl per ha for Sauvignon Blanc with the fruit between 12-13 potential alcohol with acidity varying from 4.5- 4.8. The acidity levels are higher than 2015 but lower than 2014.

The Pinot Noir fared better both at flowering and from the heat of the summer, so yields of 42 hl/ha and 13.5% potential alc.

Henry Natter (Montigny)
Unlike many other Sancerre producers who had finished or were just finishing, Henry Natter was in the middle of picking but well satisfied with the quantity and quality of the 2016 vintage. Often one of the last in the appellation to picky Natter still had another five days of harvest to do.

Vincent and Adélaïde Grall (Sancerre)
The Gralls were decidedly happy with 2016. Vincent: « We finished last Wednesday (12th October) having started on the 3rd October. Our Sauvignon is between 11.5-12.5. Following the rain towards the end of September the grapes have plenty of juice, so we have made 65 hl/ha.

Alphonse Mellot (Sancerre)
Alphonse Mellot jnr: « We finished last Friday (14th). The Sancerre reds are exceptional – 14% potential alcohol and between 4.5-5 acidity with a yield of 28 hl/ha. » This is not low for the Mellot reds as low Pinot Nor yields are customary here.  « The whites are between 12%-14% alc with yields between 50-55 hl/ha. However, it is a very different story for the Mellot vineyards in the Côte de la Charité, which were hit by the April frosts. « For the Chardonnay it is 6 hl/ha, while for the Pinot Noir we picked just 4 hl/ha. »

Matthieu and Jean-Yves Delaporte, Domaine Vincent Delaporte (Chavignol)
I caught up with Matthieu and his father Jean-Yves early on Monday evening when they were finshing sorting over their last cases of Pinot Noir. Both were well pleased with the 2016 – 60hl/ha for the whites and 50 hl/ha for the reds.

Pierre Martin (Chavignol) 
« It’s a good vintage. We started on Wednesday 5th October and finished yesterday (17th October). The rain in mid to end of September was crucial after the long dry spell in July, August and early September. Our Sauvignon Blanc is between 12-13% potential alc and 4-4.3 acidity, while the Pinot Noir is at 13% potential. Yields are between 55-60 hl/ha.

Gérard Boulay (Chavignol)
Gérard was also happy  with 2016. « We started on Monday 3rd October and finished on Sunday 16th. Our white Sancerre is between 12%-13.5%, while the Pinot is at 13.5%. There is a lot of tartaric acid this year – the recent fresh nights have been good for maintaining acidity. Yields are between 45/50 hl/ha. The Cul de Beaujeu is particularly good. »

Domaine Paul Prieur (Verdigny)
Luc Prieur: « We started on Monday 3rd October and finished on Friday 14th. » Luc is very happy with the quality of 2016. « Our Sauvignon came in at between 12%-12.5% potential and 4.7 to 5 acidity with a yield between 55-60 hl/ha, while the Pinot is at 13.6%-14% and 50 hl/ha. Some of our Pinot suffered from mildew and sunburn during the heat of July and August.

François Crochet (Bué)
François and Karine Crochet are also very happy with their 2016. François: « We started on Friday 30th September having got special permission to start early. Yields for the Sauvignon are between 45-50 hl with a potential around 12% and 5 gms acidity. We had to pick our Pinot twice as grapes facing south got burnt by the sun. We picked these first to make rosé. These grapes came in at 13.3%. The rest we picked a little later for our Sancerre Rouge and were up to 14% potential. The Pinot yield is around 35-40 hl/ha. »

François likens 2016 to the 2014s, while a number of other Sancerre producers put 2016 between 2014 and 2015 in style, so having some of the richness of 2015 but more acidity than 15 and less than 14. Certainly the juices that I tasted appeared promising – clean, mouth-filling with a freshness in the finish.

 

 

The have nots

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Above Les Loges, Pouilly-Fumé 

Pouilly-Fumé:



Jonathan Pabiot (Les Loges, Pouilly-sur-Loire)
« Overall we lost 65% of the crop including all of our Chasselas. We started on Monday 3rd October and finished on 13th. The communes of Saint Martin, Saint-Laurent and to the south of Pouilly-sur-Loire – the southern part of the appellation – was particularly badly hit by the frost. In some of our parcels where we normally harvest 50 hl/ha we only managed 5 hl/ha, while in the commune of Tracy we picked 35hl/ha. Fortunately our best parcels escaped the frost. »

Michel Redde et Fils (Pouilly-sur-Loire)
Sébastien Redde: « It has been a very complicated year. Of our 42 hectares, 10ha have recorded a total loss – no more than 2 ha/ha, 5 hectares were hit between 20%-50% by the frost here we averaged 15 hl/ha.  After the April frosts the mildew ravaged two hectares with a 90% loss. Overall we have made 30 hl/ha but the quality is good.

Masson-Blondelet (Pouilly-sur-Loire)
Pierre-François Masson: « Some of our Pouilly-Fumé parcels were badly hit. In those in the commune of St Martin we only picked 7.5 hl/ha and the same for those in Pouilly. However, our vines in Saint-Andelain were not hit by the frost. We are happy with what we picked in Sancerre – 45 hl/ha, while for the Pinot it was down – 25 hl/ha compared to around 40 hl/ha in a normal year. Unfortunately we will have to restrict allocations. »

Menetou-Salon

Domaine Philippe Gilbert
Menetou-Salon is among the worst hit by the April frost of the Loire appellations and Philippe Gilbert is no exception. « In a normal vintage we make 500hl of both red and white, so 1000 hls. This year we have 17 hls of rosé, between 60-70 hls of red and between 60 – 68 hls of white. » This adds up to around 150-160 hls in 2016. – 15% of a normal year. » The fact that the quality in 2016 is high must, of course, be particularly galling.

Philippe will not be going to Millésime Bio in January 2017. « There is no point in me going just to explain that I have no wine to sell! » he says.

•••

Today we cross La Manche and return to to Madame May’s lunatic asylum – no further comment required!

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Oz Clarke, London celebrates, Champeau

 Oz, Chris Stroud (marketing manager – 

Europe, New Zealand Winegrowers),  

Sir Alexander Lockwood Smith  

 Sir Alexander Lockwood Smith, 

NZ High Commissioner to UK 

On Friday 6th may Oz Clarke, writer, actor and broadcaster, was inducted into the The New Zealand Hall of Fame at a brief ceremony at the top of New Zealand House. Sir Alexander Lockwood Smith, the New Zealand High Commissioner, made the presentation.

••     

Press release:

‘Oz Clarke inducted in to New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame

Oz Clarke, the man who helped put New Zealand Wine on the map, will be inducted into the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame on International Sauvignon Blanc Day, Friday May 6.  

 Oz is the first person in the UK to receive this honour, and only the second non-Kiwi (after Australian David Hohnen in 2006) to be recognised for having made major contributions to the development and enhancement of the domestic and export-based wine industry in New Zealand.

 A passionate New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc enthusiast and advocate, Oz will be presented with his certificate of membership fittingly on International Sauvignon Blanc Day, at New Zealand House in London.

 “There had never before been a wine that crackled and spat its flavours at you from the glass,” Oz said at the inaugural International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration, held in Marlborough earlier this year, where he captivated the audience as a keynote speaker with his first memories of tasting New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

 Oz first visited New Zealand in 1987 as a guest overseas judge at the inaugural Air New Zealand Wine Awards, the country’s premier national wine competition. He came again a few years later to judge, and has been a regular keynote speaker at the triennial Pinot Noir International events held in Wellington since 2001.

 Commenting on Oz’s induction, the chairman of the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame Trust, Bob Campbell MW (who, incidentally judged on the same panel as Oz in 1987) said:

 “Oz is special to Kiwi winemakers because, in 1984 he was among the first to recognise that Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc had added a new style and flavour to the world of wine, and he never stopped saying it to anyone who would listen. Then, in 2001 he rated our best Pinot Noirs as being up there with the best of Burgundy – not better than but comparable with and complementary in style.” 

 « On personal and regional levels, Oz has taken the time and trouble to get to know our wine people and their terroirs, and the synergies are such that we have come to regard him as an honorary Kiwi.”

 

•••

Celebrating London’s first Muslim Mayor – Sadiq Khan 

Crémant de Loire Rosé, Lamé Delisle Boucard

 

Last night we opened a bottle of the Crémant de Loire Rosé from Lamé Delisle Boucard to celebrate the election early on Saturday morning of Sadiq Khan as the new Mayor of London and the first Muslim to be elected to the post. Sadiq Khan was elected by a landslide despite a very unpleasantly racist campaign by the Conservatives that has been subsequently widely criticised by various senior Conservative figures. Despite these tactics Khan has been impressively dignified.  

Lamé’s Crémant Rosé is made from 70% Cabernet Franc and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and spends 24 months sur latte. Lovely delicate strawberry and raspberry fruit.

Proud to be a Londoner!     


Views of Sadiq Khan’s London 

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Franck Champeau – Domaine Champeau, Pouilly-Fumé

 Franck Champeau, 

Domaine Champeau, Pouilly-Fumé

(above and below)

I was quite surprised to find a substantial Pouilly-Fumé domaine in the Wines Unearthed section of this year’s London Wine Trade Fair. The Wines Unearthed section described as ‘unsigned talent from the world of wine’ was for producers not represented in the UK. 

Domaine Champeau is based in the village of Saint-Andelain and has 20 hectares of vines – the vast majority being Sauvignon Blanc but they also have 1.40 ha of Chasselas for AC Pouilly-sur-Loire. This makes them the largest producer of Pouilly-sur-Loire – the much reduced appellation for Chasselas that used to be the dominant grape variety here – albeit essentially for the production of table grapes. The domaine was founded in 1942 when Franck’s grandparents started with just 1.70 ha of vines. He and his brother, Guy, are the third generation to run the domaine. 

I met Franck Champeau on the stand. Unfortunately like so many other Loire producers he has been hit by the recent late April frosts, especially that of early in the morning of Wednesday 27th April. « We have lost 50% of our crop, » Franck told me, « and overall throughout the appellation the loss is 50%. »

I was impressed with the wines I tasted with Franck – in particular the mineral 2014 Silex and and the attractively concentrated 2015 Pouilly-Fumé. For anyone looking for that relatively rare beast – a Pouilly-Fumé not imported into the UK – should take a look at these wines.    

Ex-chair