Charles Sydney’s latest Loire Vintage asessment

Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by Andrew No Comments
Guest post from Loire supremo Charles – well worth a read:
2014 is looking pretty damn good so far.
The Muscadets, the Touraine sauvignons and most Sancerres and Pouillys are now in.
Some background information :
You’ll remember that fine June giving perfect weather for the flowering. Cooler weather than normal in August slowed things down so the ‘advance’ was lost, but perfect, dry, sunny and hot weather all through September meant that the grapes everywhere had time to really ripen in ideal conditions.
There were storms overnight on 19th September, with a little much needed rain to soften skins (could have used that a bit earlier to boost volumes in Muscadet!). They also brought a very unwanted pile of hail onto 100 hectares of St Pourçain, ripping some 80% of the bunches from the vines – a real pain as the rest of the harvest is really good.
Hail too in Ligré and Panzoult in Chinon, but the damage there was much more limited.
So…. for the dry white Muscadets and all Loire sauvignons, the harvest was in as near perfect conditions as you can get.
The grapes have come in with real concentration and intensity, an ideal balance of sugar to acidity. The ‘liquid gold’ colour of the juice reflects the sunshine and ripeness of the Muscadets.
The only potential problems could be from attacks of mildew in late summer, but all the better producers coped well. There are reports of some pourriture acide starting in the pinots, so all the good growers are picking selectively and using their sorting tables.
A couple of growers have commented that you’d have to go out of your way not to make great wine this year.
Others have talked of a dream vintage.
‘On ne peut pas rêver mieux’ seems to sum it up, though we’re a little disappointed that yields weren’t maybe 10% higher in Muscadet – the guys need a break after two tiny harvests.
Here in Chinon, trailers of grapes have been trundling past the door over the last few days – but not today as it’s raining (at last!), which gives us an excuse to be in the office. Growers are talking of degrees nicely over 13 and the grapes look as healthy as can be, so fingers crossed!
Picking for the chenin blancs has started and the grapes are starting to concentrate very nicely in the Anjou, so fingers crossed there will be some smart stickies too.
We’ll get back to you on those.
Meanwhile, you’ll find some pics of the harvest here :
More anon!
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