Les 5 du Vin

5 journalistes parlent du vin


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2018 Loire Millésime approaches + recently tasted

Surplus to

A leg brace that is now thankfully surplus to requirements

Loch G2

Loch Gynack above Kingussie

when the weather is fine there are compensations
to convalescing in the Scottish Highlands

After spending all of 2018 to date in Newtonmore recovering from my slip on the ice on 2nd January as well as looking after my late mother-in-law, I looking forward to getting back to London this Friday. Then on Sunday I will be meeting up with some of my distinguished colleagues in Blois, including our grand fromage – Hervé –  for the second edition of Loire Millésime.

Last year’s Loire Millésime was held at the Abbaye de Fontevraud. Unfortunately this first edition coincided with some of the successive nights of frost that significantly reduced the 2017 crop for many Loire producers as well as in other parts of France like Bordeaux. Happily the long range forecast up to 30th April predicts that night-time temperatures will be well above freezing, so vignerons should be able to sleep peacefully in their beds.

During my time in Newtonmore I have been tasting some Loire wines, which producers have kindly sent me to ensure that I have not been totally unemployed. These have come from the 2015, 2016 and 2017 vintages – all of which produced some very attractive wines. It has been particularly good to taste some 2017s I was unable to make my customary visit to the Salon des Vins de Loire and its associated tastings. This has confirmed the good impressions that I formed from visits during the harvest.

Here are some recent notes on wines:

2016 Le Petit Clos, Vouvray sec, Bernard Fouquet – Domaine des Aubuisières

This 2016 Vouvray Sec Le Petit Clos from Bernard Fouquet has terrific balance – a lovely blend of ripe fruit with vibrant acidity giving a typical austere Vouvray finish. This comes from a single vineyard with the vines planted on clay limestone. 

The 2016 is drinking well now but clearly has the potential to mature and develop over many years. Demonstration that Bernard Fouquet is among the best producers in Vouvray.   

2015 Jubilation, Muscadet Sèvre & Maine Le Pallet, Les Vignerons du Pallet

2015 Jubilation, Le Pallet, Muscadet Sèvre & Maine Le Pallet

Les Vignerons du Pallet

Le Pallet is one of the three Muscadet Cru Communaux that have been officially ratified (2011), although there are another four waiting to be officially ratified. Jubilation is made by the co-operative Les Vignerons du Pallet. Jubilation was the first of the cru communaux to be awarded a Gold medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

This ripe and rich 2015 Jubilation is far from a typical Muscadet Sèvre & Maine that one would typically match with shellfish. The 2015 Jubilation calls for a grilled or sauced fish dish or a chicken dish – either plain or pot roasted.

Still young it will be interesting to see how this 2015 cru develops. Will it gain additional complexity?  

 

2017 Anjou Rouge Domaine Ogereau – very drinkable

 

A delightfully drinkable, soft 2017 Anjou Rouge (100% Cabernet Franc) from Domaine Ogereau – one to enjoy now with its fresh, youthful black fruits rather than keep to see how it develops. Better to age the 2017 Anjou Villages, when it is released and which on this evidence should be very promising. 
If I were the Ogereaus I would bottle this in a screwcap as it is ideal to take on a picnic, so that there is no problem if you forget the corkscrew.

Jim



    

 

 

 

 

 

 


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La Loire beckons and other musings..

vglamoursPicking in Sancerre September 2009

By the time this post appears on the portal of Les 5 du Vin, I will have left London behind and will be installed in the far east of Indre-et-Loire – able to watch the folly and confusion of Brexit from a distance. To date we have established that Brexit means Brexit just as Weetabix means Weetabix, Ready Brek means Ready Brek, while beanz means Heinz. I trust this makes the UK’s post EU referendum position crystal clear….

We will be in the Loire to follow the 2016 harvest such as it will be after the ravages of frost, mildew as well as hail in places such as Jasnières. It is difficult to imagine that it will be a happy vintage with lots of joyous and pleased vignerons and vigneronnes as there were in years like 2005, 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015.

Picking will be late. Muscadet is expected to start from around the 20th-22nd September, while some like Lamé Delisle Boucard think that they won’t pick their Cabernet until as late as 26th October. The very dry, hot weather through July and August hasn’t helped their few remaining grapes to ripen as their vines have shut down due to lack of water. However, in the Anjou-Saumur region they started picking Chardonnay for the Crémants yesterday.

I expect to have more detailed updates on the 2016 Loire harvest next and subsequent Tuesdays.

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François Chidaine and Jacky Blot with their 
Vin de France Vouvray

I was very pleased to see that Jacky Blot and François Chidaine now have eight stars between them for their wines, which include their Montlouis and Vin de France Vouvray. Jacky and Joëlle Blot have been promoted to a five star domaine in the latest Bettane et Desseauve guide, while François and Manuéla are now a three star domaine in La Revue du Vin de France. You would have thought that Vouvray would be keen to  have these two producers adding lustre to their appellation rather than treating them as outcasts……still it is what is in the bottle that is important. I will happily buy and drink their Vin de France Vouvray.

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A companion or a bible?

Karen MacNel

V

OCW-4theds

Following last week’s post on the new edition of The Wine Bible’s coverage of the Loire, David Cobbold asked me to do a comparison with the new edition – the fourth – of The Oxford Companion to Wine. As always I do what I am told ……

Firstly there are some similarities: both are edited by women: The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeill and The Oxford Companion by Jancis Robinson MW. Both women sport impressive items of jewellery – a necklace for Jancis and earrings for Karen. The rather severe photo of Jancis appears to be warning reviewers to watch out or else……

Both book covers make big claims. The Bible is ‘ A masterpiece of wine writing’ while The Companion is ‘The greatest wine book ever published’, so clearly we have heavyweight titles here…..

Talking of actual weight The Bible at 1.34 kilos is a flyweight compared to The Companion, which tips the scales at 2.85 kilos. Bearing in mind that Jancis’ Wine Grapes is even heavier @ 3.08 kilos, it is clear that her campaign against over-heavy wine bottles does not extend to wine books!

The Wine Bible runs to 996 pages for $24.95 against 860 pages for $65 forThe Companion. These figures are, however, misleading as The Companion is very significantly wider than The Bible with three columns of text compared a biblical two. There are black and white photos or tables on many of The Bible’s pages, whereas The Companion is solid text with the few full pages colour photos are not included in the page count. Although I haven’t attempted a word count it is clear that Jancis uses many more words than Karen.

So how do the two contestants fare regarding the Loire? As we saw last week The Bible is weak on the Loire with a decidedly partial revision. UnlikeThe Bible, which is arranged by region,The Companion is ordered alphabetically, which makes it rather more difficult to judge as it involves hopping about the book.

Anyway time for a look at some of The Companion’s Loire entries. Montlouis is covered in more detail and includes mention of the recent AC Montlouis Pétillant Naturel. However, Montlouis’ recent dynamism isn’t recognised and the figure of a third of the production being sparkling is low – the Interloire site has sparkling wine at 55%.

Turning to Vouvray the entry declares that ‘In less generous vintages, only dry and possibly sparkling wines are made.’ Whereas sparkling Vouvray is invariably made, especially in difficult vintages as there is both a demand for it in French supermarkets and the maximum yield permitted for sparkling Vouvray is substantially higher than that for still – 65 hl/ha compared with 52 hl/ha for still.

The Quarts de Chaume entry makes me think that The Companion lacks the local knowledge that would provide full accuracy. It is incorrect to say there has been little recent investment as there has been investment at Bellerive and, perhaps, more importantly the last decade or more has seen a significant number of Anjou producers acquiring parcels here. Domaine Ogereau being the latest. The situation is now radically different from the late 1960s when there were just a handful of producers. It is also incorrect to say that the minimum sugar levels are rarely achieved. Of recent vintages since 2005 only in the horrendous October 2012 was it virtually impossible to make genuine Quarts de Chaume – unless you picked unripe and used cryoextraction……

Would I buy either of these reference books? Fortunately these were both review copies. I certainly wouldn’t buy Karen MacNeill’s Bible and I would have to think hard before I shelled out £40 (£25.03 on Amazon…) for Jancis Robinson’s Companion, although I am pretty sure there are sections that are more convincing than the Loire.

My doubts about buying The Companion are, in part, whether I would actually use it as if I have a query the net is my first resource. I have had my copy of The Companion for a while now and have hardly used it …..

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1865 Bourgueil and 1857 Vouvray = 308 years in bottle

1865 Bourgueil

1865 Bourgueil – bricky but still magically there 150 years later! No spitting on this occasion – only backwards….

It was once again an extraordinary experience. Less comprehensive than the memorable tasting Les 5 du Vin enjoyed in the cellars of Lamé Delisle Boucard back in June 2012 but equally amazing!

I was in Bourgueil for a tasting and Guillaume Lapaque ­ (Monsieur Bourgueil) ­ asked whether we would be free to taste an 1865 Bourgueil from the Demont family this evening. The idea was to check whether the 1865 was still holding up as there was due to be a television programme featuring Gérard Depardieu tasting the 1865. We had nothing special planned for the evening, so of course we were up for the 1865. Even if we had been busy we would have done our best to make a space to taste an 1865 – the oldest Loire red I have ever been privileged to taste. We duly arrived at 7pm and headed down into a cellar in the middle of a field. The cellar, hewn out of the local limestone, had two chambers one to the right remained locked and barred we were let into the one on the left with its earthen floor. Here there were a number of dusty bottles ranged in sand along the floor and on storage ledges along the walls. 

The 1865 Bourgueil in photos:

Heading down into history

Heading down into history

Not 1965 but 1865...

Not 1965 but 1865…

The cave

The cave – on left Nicolas and his father Michel Demont

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About to disturb the slumbers of the 1865.

About to disturb the slumbers of the 1865.

Michel Demont starting to pour the 1865

Michel Demont starting to pour the 1865

Still a vibrant colour

Still a vibrant colour

A glass of the 1865 beside its bottle

A glass of the 1865 beside its bottle

Michel Demont enjoying and reflecting on his family's 1865

Michel Demont enjoying and reflecting on his family’s 1865

The 1865 was still very definitely wine – bricky orange in colour – with quite a fungal aroma but pleasant: ceps and truffles. An attractive texture and body with quite marked acidity initially. With a little time in the glass the acidity softened and the 65 gained further body. Remarkably after finishing the wine, its aromas lingered on in the glass. Incroyable!!

Metal tag: Vouvray 1857

Metal tag: Vouvray Blanc 1857

1857 Vouvray
On entering their cellar Michel and Nicolas Demont explained that 150 years again vignerons were already exchanging bottles, which is how they came to have some 1857 Vouvray here. After very generously opening and sharing with us the 1865 they decided that while we were all here they might as well open one of the 1857 Vouvrays.

Pouring the 1857 Vouvray into a jug

Pouring the 1857 Vouvray into a jug

1857 Vouvray still golden coloured

1857 Vouvray still golden coloured

1857 Vouvray: still clear, golden colour

1857 Vouvray: still clear, golden colour even though it is in a Bourgueil glass!

Christophe Demont with the 1857

Nicolas Demont with the 1857

Many thanks to Michel and Christophe Demont for their amazing generosity. Truly memorable!

Many thanks to Michel and Nicolas Demont for their amazing generosity. Truly memorable!

The 1857 Vouvray was equally amazing with vibrant golden colour, a little oxidation but really remarkably little for its age with a gentle sweetness – honey and apricot – and lightly truffly nose. Incredible!

As we were staying at the Café de la Promenade with took a tasting sample in a glass back for Ludo to try. Although Ludo was impressively quick to divine that this was a Vouvray, I was a little disappointed that he had trouble identifying the vintage opting initially for 1947, which would normally be a considerably deeper gold and much sweeter. Chapeau Ludo !

In the end Depardieu apparently preferred to taste old vodkas with his fellow countryman Vladimir Putin rather than the 1865 ….. foolish boy!


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Affaire Blot/Chidaine: have Vouvray and the INAO exceeded their legal powers?

François Chidaine and Jacky Blot with their 2013 Vouvrays

Barring the vinification of Vouvray in Montlouis

Is the ban on Jacky Blot and François Chidaine vinifying their Vouvray in the commune of Montlouis on a sound legal basis?  

 A brief resumé of the current position:
Vouvray’s appellation rules were changed in October 2009 to ensure that all still wines bearing the Vouvray appellation are made within the Vouvray AC. The only exception is Nazelles-Négron, a neighbouring commune just outside the eastern limit of the appellation.

Montlouis producers were allowed to make wine under the Vouvray name until after the 2013 vintage. 

Jacky Blot, of Domaine de la Taille aux Loups and who has five hectares of Vouvray vines, has been making his Vouvray in Montlouis since 1998. In October 1999, The INAO formally granted permission to do so, with no time limit given. 

François Chidaine, with 10 hectares of Vouvray, bought the famous Clos Baudoin in the centre of Vouvray in 2001. Having built a modern winery in Montlouis Chidaine also started in 2013 to make his Vouvray in Montlouis as the facilities at the Clos Baudoin are antiquated.

Blot and Chidaine were inspected by the INAO in January 2015 and told that their 2014 harvest could not be called ‘Vouvray’ as it had been made in Montlouis. Blot will be selling his ‘Vouvrays’ as Vin de France at up to 24 euros a bottle.

‘We were not consulted or informed about the proposed ban on vinifying Vouvray in Montlouis,’ said Blot and Chidaine.

 ••

Last Wednesday I interviewed Jacky Blot and François Chidaine about their recent ban – from the 2014 vintage – on vinifying their grapes from their Vouvray vineyards. Later that day I had a phone interview with Philippe Brisebarre, president of the regional committee of the INAO. Philippe was the president of the Syndicat des Vignerons de l’Aire d’Appellation Vouvray when the Vouvray rules were changed in 2009 to exclude the possibility of vinifying still Vouvray in the commune of Montlouis. Since 1974 the making sparkling Vouvray outside AC Vouvray has been banned.

Both Jacky Blot and François Chidaine were adamant that they had neither been consulted nor informed about the change to the Vouvray rules barring the vinification of their Vouvrays in the commune of Montlouis. They both cite the success of the Vouvrays on having provoked the Syndicat to restrict the vinification of still Vouvray to the aire of AC Vouvray with part of Nazelles-Négron the sole exception outside the zone. 

During my meeting with Blot and Chidaine it emerged that Blot had been given permission in September 1999 by the INAO to vinfiy his Vouvray in the commune of Montlouis. The INAO placed no time restriction on this dérogation. See the correspondence here.  

Both Jacky Blot and François Chidaine hope that a solution can be found. However, while Blot will be selling his 2014 ‘Vouvray’ labelled Vin de France (see below), Chidaine is waiting for September in the hope that he may legally be able to label his wines as Vouvray.    

La Taille aux Loups 2014 Bretonnière Vin de France (aka Vouvray)

La Taille aux Loups 2014 Venise Vin de France (aka Vouvray)

Philippe Brisebarre
In contrast Philippe Brisebarre held out no possibility of there being a solution:  

‘I have nothing against Blot and Chidaine,’ Philippe told me. « However, our hands are tied by the EU law. Even if we wanted to change the law we can’t. I have spent six months trying to find a solution. »

Brisebarre explained that EU law allowed places outside an appellation’s zone where these wines had been vinified prior to 1970 could continue to do so but this wasn’t possible if there was no tradition of this before 1970. Vouvray could be vinified in Nazelles-Négron because Vouvray had been vinified in part of this commune prior to 1970. This wasn’t the case for the commune of Montlouis.

Philippe explained that the famous appeal against the very restrictive Pomerol appellation had succeeded because of this 1970 rule. He pointed out that the décret of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil does not allow Saint-Nicolas to be vinified in Chinon.

I asked Philippe about the commune of Montlouis being close to AC Vouvray since the distance from both Blot’s and Chidaine’s vineyards to their wineries in the hamlet of Husseau, part of coomune of Montlouis, was less than that from the western extremity  of AC Vouvray and the commune of Nazelles-Négron. « We don’t measure the distance, » he explained. « The Loire (which separates the two communes) is a barrier. »

Philippe also insisted that in 2007 he had discussed with François Chidaine the intended change to the appellation rules. At the time Chidaine vinified his Vouvray at the Clos Baudoin within the commune of Vouvray, so the change wouldn’t have affected him. It was only in 2013 that once François had built his new winery that he started vinifying his Vouvray within the commune of Montlouis. François assumed that the 1999 permission granted to Jacky Blot to vinify Vouvray in the commune of Montlouis would also apply to him and to others within the commune.

Chidaine cannot remember having had this discussion with Brisebarre.

 •

Although I am no lawyer and may well be looking at the wrong legisation, it is far from clear that the hands of the Vouvray Syndicat and the INAO are as tied as Philippe Brisebarre says.

Firstly there is the unlimited permission that the INAO granted Jacky Blot on 9th September 1999 to vinify his Vouvay in the commune of Montlouis.

Secondly the Reglement (CE) n o 607/2009 de la Commission du 14 juillet 2009 allows the possibility of vinfying an appellation’s wines in an immediately adjacent zone (à proximité immediate de la zone délimitée concernée) or in the same administrative zone or a neighbouring one (dans une zone située dans la même unité administrative ou dans une unité administrative voisine, conformément aux régles nationales). 

The pre-1970 rule cited by Philippe Brisebarre appears only to apply if the area is outside the immediate vicinity:

En outre, les États membres peuvent permettre, par des autorisations individuelles et sous réserve d’un contrôle approprié, qu’un v.q.p.r.d . soit obtenu en transformant des raisins en moût et du moût en vin, ainsi qu’en élaborant ce vin, même en dehors d’une aire à proximité immédiate de la région déterminée en question : 

a ) lorsqu’il s’agit d’une pratique traditionnelle, si cette pratique :

– était en usage avant le 1er septembre 1970, ou, en ce qui concerne les États membres ayant adhéré à la Communauté après cette date, avant la date de prise d’effet de leur adhésion,

– n’a pas été interrompue depuis ces dates,’

See here.   

So a key question is whether Montlouis is in the same administrative area as Vouvray or in a neighbouring one (à la même unité administrative ou dans une unité administrative voisine) or is the Loire a barrier as Brisebarre maintains. If it is ‘une unité administrative voisine’ (adjoining) then the before September 1970 usage rule does not apply.  

Montlouis and Vouvray are clearly individual communes and in different cantons (the grouping of several communes). However, looking at the geographical boundaries* of the communes of Montlouis, Vouvray and the adjacent commune of Vernou-sur-Brenne indicates that there is a very good case for classifying them as immediate neighbours and that the Loire is not the barrier that Brisebarre relies upon for justifying the exclusion of the commune of Montlouis.


 The commune of Vouvray – shaded area
(source the Mairie de Vouvray)

Detail of the southern part of the commune of Vouvray

NB Vouvray includes a small part of the south bank of the Loire 

by the Pont Charles de Gaulle built in 1993.

Commune of Montlouis (shaded) borders the communes 

of Vouvray and Vernou even sharing a land border by the 

Pont Charles de Gaule where Vouvray encroaches 

on the south side of the Loire and 

also further east where Montlouis meets Vernou 

appearing to just touch the north bank of the Loire 

Montlouis and Vouvray also share an island in the middle of the river

 The commune of Vernou-sur-Brenne, which shares a boundary 

with Montlouis even like Vouvray claiming a small part of the south bank 

of the Loire.

Montlouis and Vernou also share an island in the middle of the river    

These maps showing the limits of the three communes – Montlouis, Vouvray and Vernou – indicate that rather than the Loire being a barrier the river ensures that the boundaries of the three communes are closely linked. It would surely be a considerable legal challenge to attempt to prove that the commune of Montlouis is not a neighbouring administrative unit (une unité administrative voisine) of Vouvray.

Brisbarre’s example of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil not allowing their wines to be made in Chinon is a false analogy as the Chinon does not adjoin Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil unlike Montlouis which adjoins Vouvray. Producers are permitted, however, to vinify Saint-Nicolas in the following nearby communes on the south bank of the Loire: Avoine, Beaumont-en-Véron and Savigny-en-Véron.  

If commune of Montlouis is indeed an administrative neighbour of the Vouvray, it would appear that EU law relating to traditional usage pre-1970 does not apply, so the Vouvray rules did not need to be changed to comply with EU regulations in 2009 and that a dérogation to allow Vouvray to be vinify within the commune of Montlouis could be granted if the Syndicat des producteurs de Vouvray/INAO wish, especially as this would conform with the INAO’s favourable decision of September 1999. 

Would, I wonder, France’s Conseil d’Etat find that Vouvray’s change of the regulations in respect of the commune of Montlouis-sur-Loire in their décret of 15th October 2009 to be necessary, proportional and suitable to protect the reputation of the Vouvray appellation?  

Reglement (CE) n o 607/2009 de la Commission du 14 juillet 2009
5) La limitation à une zone géographique donnée du conditionnement d’un produit vitivinicole bénéficiant d’une appellation d’origine ou d’une indication géographique, ou des opérations liées à sa présentation, constitue une restriction de la libre circulation des marchandises et de la libre prestation de services. À la lumière de la jurisprudence de la Cour de justice, de telles restrictions ne peuvent être imposées que si elles sont nécessaires, proportionnées et de nature à protéger la réputation de l’appellation d’origine ou de l’indication géographique. Toute restriction doit être dûment justifiée au regard de la libre circulation des marchandises et de la libre prestation de services.

Appendices:
Reglement (CE) n o 607/2009 de la Commission du 14 juillet 2009
5) La limitation à une zone géographique donnée du conditionnement d’un produit vitivinicole bénéficiant d’une appellation d’origine ou d’une indication géographique, ou des opérations liées à sa présentation, constitue une restriction de la libre circulation des marchandises et de la libre prestation de services. À la lumière de la jurisprudence de la Cour de justice, de telles restrictions ne peuvent être imposées que si elles sont nécessaires, proportionnées et de nature à protéger la réputation de l’appellation d’origine ou de l’indication géographique. Toute restriction doit être dûment justifiée au regard de la libre circulation des marchandises et de la libre prestation de services.

Article 6
Production dans la zone géographique délimitée

Par dérogation aux dispositions fixées (voir etc.) et sous rèserve que le cahier des charges le prévote, un produit d’une appellation d’origine protégée (AOP) ou d’une indication géographique protégée peut être transforme en vin

a) dans une zone à proximité immediate de la zone délimitée concernée, ou

b) dans une zone située dans la même unité administrative ou dans une unité administrative voisine, conformément aux régles nationales, ou

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32009R0607

From http://www.lavigne-mag.fr
(which appears to suggest that the dérogation given by the INAO in 1999 to Jacky Blot should continue, although of course this is a magazine article and not a décret.)
Toutes les nouvelles demandes de dérogation devraient donc s’appuyer dans le futur sur ce nouveau cadre collectif. Pour les dérogations individuelles légalement enregistrées dans le passé – il s’agit de quelques dizaines -, elles seront définitivement accordées, même si le lieu de vinification se trouve en dehors de l’API nouvellement définie, et ce à plusieurs conditions. ‘ Lorsque la pratique était en usage avant septembre 1970, qu’elle n’a pas été interrompue depuis et qu’elle porte sur des quantités qui, depuis lors, n’ont pas augmenté, auprès du transformateur en question, plus que celles correspondant à l’évolution générale du marché ‘, stipule le règlement européen de 1999.
(http://www.lavigne-mag.fr/archive/article/resserrer-les-regles-d-octroi-VI1242115108.html

EU rules regarding proximity

RÈGLEMENT (CE) N o 607/2009 DE LA COMMISSION du 14 juillet 2009
3 . Par dérogation au paragraphe 1 deuxième tiret, un v.q.p.r.d . peut être obtenu ou élaboré dans une aire à proximité immédiate de la région déterminée en question lorsque l’État membre concerné l’a prévu par autorisation expresse et sous certaines conditions .

En outre, les États membres peuvent permettre, par des autorisations individuelles et sous réserve d’un contrôle approprié, qu’un v.q.p.r.d . soit obtenu en transformant des raisins en moût et du moût en vin, ainsi qu’en élaborant ce vin, même en dehors d’une aire à proximité immédiate de la région déterminée en question : 

a ) lorsqu’il s’agit d’une pratique traditionnelle, si cette pratique :

– était en usage avant le 1er septembre 1970, ou, en ce qui concerne les États membres ayant adhéré à la Communauté après cette date, avant la date de prise d’effet de leur adhésion,

– n’a pas été interrompue depuis ces dates,

et

– porte sur des quantités qui, depuis lors, n’ont pas augmenté, auprès du transformateur en question, plus que celles correspondant à l’évolution générale du marché;

b ) dans les autres cas et s’il s’agit d’une pratique en usage avant le 1er septembre 1989, pendant une période transitoire qui se termine au plus tard le 31 août 1992 . 

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32009R0607


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Two days focusing on the Loire – Crémants and VitiLoire – but sight of a swelling storm cloud over Vouvray

2015 VitiLoire à Tours

2015 VitiLoire à Tours

Friday and Saturday I enjoyed two good days tasting Loire wines. On Friday morning I joined the press trip based around the Concours National des Crémants for a tasting of Crémants de Loire. I had the pleasure of being with fellow 5 – the ebullient Hervé, who was on excellent form. However, a word of warning, never sit close to Hervé during a tasting of sparkling wines as he is prone to both knock over glass as well as releasing a stream of fizz over his neighbouring tasters.

Hervé a boulot

Hervé a boulot

Hervé avec les fraises de voyage

Hervé avec les fraises de voyage

In the morning we tasted just short of 20 Crémants de Loire mainly from the established houses like Ackerman, Bouvet Ladubay, Gratien & Meyer and Langlois-Chateau with very few from small independent producers. These were my preferred Crémants: Bouvet-Ladubay – Rosé (100% Cabernet Franc); Louis de Grenelle – Blanc de Noirs (100% Cabernet Franc); Lacheteau (part of Grands Chais de France) – Blanc de Noir (100% Cabernet Franc) and Blanc (70% Chenin, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Chardonnay); Langlois-Chateau – 2007 Quadrille Extra Brut (50% Chenin, 30% Chardonnay, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Pinot Noir), Domaine Michaud (small independent producer in Noyers-sur-Cher) – Blanc (50% Chardonnay, 10% Chenin, 40% Cabernet/Pinot Noir) and Monmousseau (now part of Ackerman) – Blanc (45% Chenin, 20% Chardonnay, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Pinot Noir).

Some of the wines shown still suffered from too high a dosage, which is a pity as often the fruit in the Loire is ripe enough to allow a reduced dosage or none at all.

Domaine Michaud – made by Thierry Michaud at Noyers sur Cher

Domaine Michaud – made by Thierry Michaud at Noyers sur Cher

2015 VitiLoire
Held over the last weekend in May VitiLoire is the largest annual Loire consumer wine fair and is always worth visiting. This – the 13th edition – was no exception with a great atmosphere. The 158 producers and the between 35,000 – 40,000 visitors over the weekend were lucky with the weather virtually no rain. Furthermore nicely temperate and not fiercely hot as it has been some years the conditions were ideal for tasting.

As usual I tasted some wines from producers I know well and some that I haven’t tasted before.

Eric Santier, Domaine Dozon, Ligré, Chinon

Eric Santier, Domaine Dozon, Ligré, Chinon

I made sure that I went to Eric Santier’s stand. Eric took over the Domaine Dozon in September 2013. He chose to only purchase the 14-ha Saut au Loup , which is to the south west of the small village of Ligré on the south-side of the Vienne. Eric didn’t take up the other six hectares closer to Ligré that the Dozens had on fermage. I liked his 2014 Cuvée du Plaisir with its juicy fruit – drinkable now it will benefit from a few months in bottle. It will be interesting to taste the other cuvées once they are in bottle.

Domaine des Grandes Espérances, Laurent Saget

Domaine des Grandes Espérances, Laurent Saget

Laurent Saget

Laurent Saget

I was pleased to have tasted with Laurent Saget at the Domaine des Grands Espérances stand. This estate, in Touraine-Mesland, used to be called be called Domaine d’Artois and was bought by Laurent’s father Jean-Louis Saget in the late 1980s. By the first decade of this millennium the plan was to get rid of the estate as Touraine wines are difficult to sell. However, Laurent and his brother, Arnaud, believed that the Touraine had potential. So they took over the estate, renamed it with 2010 being their first vintage with the new approach.

Next time I am in Sancerre I aim to visit Laurent Saget and get myself up to date with developments.

Jacky Blot

Jacky Blot

Storm brewing in Vouvray

Two of the leading Vouvray producers – François Chidaine and Jacky Blot (Domaine de la Taille aux Loups), who have the majority of their vines in Montlouis just across the Loire, may well be unable to use the Vouvray appellation unless they vinify their wines within the aire of the Vouvray or in the derogation area of Nazelles-Négron. Jacky Blot has no facilities for vinification in Vouvray, while François Chidaine does apparently have some limited facilities at the Clos Baudouin. However, François now has a new modern winery in Husseau, which is naturally much better equipped. 

François has recently been elected président de la Fédération des Associations Viticoles d’Indre-et-Loire et de la Sarthe.

At the centre of this potential storm is the latest Vouvray décret of 8th June 2011. This décret sets out that AC Vouvray has to be vinified within the zone of Vouvray with a part of the commune of the Nazelles-Négron, on the north bank of the Loire just across from Amboise. Transitional arrangements were made for the commune of Montlouis allowing Vouvray to be vinified there until the 2013 harvest. These arrangements have now come to an end, so what happens now? 
François Chidaine

François Chidaine

 The relevant parts of the décret:                 
 ‘Décret n° 2011-650 du 8 juin 2011 relatif à l’appellation d’origine contrôlée « Vouvray »

1° Aire géographique :
La récolte des raisins, la vinification, l’élaboration et l’élevage des vins tranquilles, la récolte des raisins, la vinification, l’élaboration, l’élevage et le conditionnement des vins mousseux et pétillants sont assurés sur le territoire des communes suivantes du département d’Indre-et-Loire : Chançay, Noizay, Parçay-Meslay, Reugny, Rochecorbon, Tours-Sainte-Radegonde, Vernou-sur-Brenne, Vouvray.’

3° Aire de proximité immédiate :
L’aire de proximité immédiate, définie par dérogation pour la vinification, l’élaboration et l’élevage des vins tranquilles et la vinification, l’élaboration, l’élevage et le conditionnement des vins mousseux et pétillants, est constituée par une partie du territoire de la commune de Nazelles-Négron du département d’Indre-et-Loire (partie du territoire au nord de la route départementale n° 1 et à l’ouest de la route départementale n° 75).’
‘XI. ― Mesures transitoires:’
‘2° Aire de proximité immédiate : 

A titre transitoire, la vinification, l’élaboration et l’élevage des vins tranquilles peuvent être assurés jusqu’à la récolte 2013 incluse sur le territoire de la commune du département d’Indre-et-Loire de Montlouis-sur-Loire.’

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Since there was a special dérogation introduced for Nazelles-Négron, it seems odd that there wasn’t a similar permanent dérogation for Montlouis as both Chidaine and Blot had vines in Vouvray when the current décret passed into law. Jacky Blot has vinified 14 vintages of his Vouvray at Montlouis, while François Chidaine bought the Clos Baudoin in 2001.

Furthermore the 2011 décret allows very little time – just two years – for producers based in Montlouis to make alternative arrangements even if that was practical.    

Neither Jacky Blot nor François Chidaine have any real need to put AC Vouvray on their labels in order to sell their wines. It is their reputations as top quality producers that counts. Should François and Jacky chose to label them as Vin de France or AOP Singes they would still sell their wines with no problem.

This latest affair has echoes with that of Pomerol where limitations on where Pomerol could be made were judged by the Conseil d’Etat, France’s Supreme Court, too restrictive and two recent décrets were annulled. See here with an explanation of the case and its issues from AX10Juris here.

One of the key issues in the Pomerol case was the distance from the vineyards to the vinification facilities because of the concern of possible oxidation of the grapes if there was a long delay between the grapes being picked and arriving at the winery.

This issue may yet play a role here. It is 20.9 kilometres by road from the furtherest point west at the gates of Tours of the Vouvray appellation – the Abbaye Marmoutier to Nazelles-Négron, the furtherest point east where it is permitted to vinify Vouvray. From Chidaine’s Clos Baudoin in Vouvray it is 11 kilometres to his new winery in Husseau, which is part of the commune of Vouvray. It is a little further from Blot’s Vouvray vineyards: 18 kilometres from Le Clos de Venise to his vinification facilities, which are also in Husseau.

A suivré!


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Vouvray – Tanguy Perrault and Anne-Cécile Jadaud: Domaine Perrault-Jadaud

The house at Chançay with the cave set into the hillside.

The house at Chançay with the cave set into the hillside.

In the cellar

In the cellar

Anne-Cécile and Tanguy in their vineyard by Le Clos du Bourg, Vouvray.

Anne-Cécile and Tanguy in their vineyard by Le Clos du Bourg, Vouvray.

I was very pleased to discover a new Vouvray producer at the VinaViva tasting at Saint Etienne de Chigny a little to the west of Tours. I certainly can’t claim to be anything like the first to taste the wines of Tanguy Perrault and Anne-Cécile Jadaud as their first vintage was in 2008.

It is always good to find new producers who are making exciting wines and, in particular, in Vouvray. Particularly exciting in Vouvray as it has been less dynamic than its smaller but closely related cousin – Montlouis – on the south side of the Loire. Although Montlouis is substantially smaller than Vouvray over the past 30 years it has been much more dynamic and attracted a host of impressive newcomers. A major factor here has been the difference in the vineyard prices between the two appellations making Vouvray both much more unaffordable than Montlouis and so more difficult to find suitable vineyards to buy.

Nevertheless Tanguy Perrault and Anne-Cécile Jadaud, who had no background in wine, started out on their adventure in Vouvray in 2008 with just 0.8 hectares making a PetNat and some moelleux. 2009 was really their first vintage when the domaine had grown to all of a hectare. Gradually they built up their domaine until they now have 4.2 hectares with Tanguy keen to acquire more if possible. They are fortunate in having some parcels on the premières côtes both in Vouvray itself and further east in Noizay. One of their parcels in Vouvray is right by the Clos du Bourg. In 2011 they moved into their present premises in Chançay.

Tanguy, who hails from Brittany, is a trained viticulturist, while Anne-Cécile, whose parents live in Tours is an oenologist. Both have taught at the Lycée Agricole d’Amboise.

They farm organically and their wines are impressively pure from low yields. Although they try to use as little sulphur as possible, they feel that their wines need a little bit of protection so they are not part of the non-SO2 brigade.

When I tasted their wines both at VinaViva and when I went to visit them last week, I was very impressed with their Vouvray PetNat which spends 24 months sur latte giving it the complex, honeyed and toasty aromas and flavours. Equally impressive is the 2013 Les Grives Soûles Vouvray Sec – brilliantly precise, clean and long. Anne-Cécile explains that Grives-Soûles doesn’t mean drunken thrushes, rather thrushes wonderfully replete after plenty of corn to ready them for their migratory journey south at the end of the summer.

Parcel by Le Clos du Bourg

Parcel by Le Clos du Bourg

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