le tasting room

Loire wine tours, tastings, day trips from Paris & short breaks organised by experienced English wine trade professionals.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Vintage update - Vouvray & Chinon

Was over in Vouvray this morning collecting wine from Bernard Fouquet. His press is at the ready with equipment clean and ready for harvest which will begin on Monday. He says that the vines have suffered from a lack of water and this lead to a 'blockage' of maturity. Yields are anticipated to be normal/healthy but the grapes will yield a small amount of juice as they are quite hard. The grapes have seen the onset of noble rot so he is hoping conditions remain dry as any rain could lead to grey rot setting in. At present there is a tiny amount of grey rot but nothing to be concerned about. Harvest on Monday will be for the petillants - acidity is not high but he says there is always a difference between those levels recorded during random sampling and those achieved on the day. Conditions are excellent.

We drove around the vineyards perched above the village of Vouvray. Many vineyards have grapes in great condition and others appear to have a lot of mildew and grey rot. This seems to be mainly where the canopy has been left dense. Photos are not of Bernard's vineyards - we took random shots.

Grapes in this vineyard looking extremely unhealthy, stripped the leaves away to take the photo

On the other hand, these look in good health, clean and without rot, clearly leaf stripped.

Moving on to Chinon, we had a chat with Jérome Billard at Domaine de la Noblaie. He will be waiting for at least another week before harvesting his Chenin for the whites. Potential alcohol is around 12 on average and he is delighted at the current weather conditions which are 'perfect'. Sunny days with a little wind allow the vines to perform normally and without any stress. There is a little grey rot but only a tiny amount and a little noble rot setting in which he feels will add complexity to the whites. He is going to hold off as long as possible if the weather conditions prevail.

I'll post more photos on the Facebook fanpage tomorrow.


  1. as Billard's wine's are one of our normal tipples, this is good news. Nothing like updates direct from the 'terroir'

  2. Thanks Henri, it certainly has been great to have our ear close to the ground this year. We've managed to see around half a dozen harvests in action and without exception, grapes are looking fabulous albeit a little shrivelled due to water stress.