le tasting room

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

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Domaine des Rochelles Vintage update

We popped in to Domaine de Rochelles for a tasting yesterday with clients and had an excellent tasting. We like the wines and Jean-Yves Lebreton was on particularly good form.

Talking about this year's vintage, he said that they have brought in the Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Grolleau for sparkling so far. Before calling at the winery, we drove down to the Croix de Mission vineyard which is a specific parcel in the Anjou-Villages-Brissac appellation. This vineyard is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and is looking fantastic. We have seen a lot of rot around this year, particularly with the Chenins but these grapes are looking in tip-top condition with not a sign of rot anywhere.

A little bit of terroir - part of what makes this plot so special.

Super healthy Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with no rot.

The bloom on the outside of the grapes, unblemished and downy.

Bunches are nicely aerated.

Jean-Yves is very happy with the condition of the grapes. He says that they are reaching full maturity and that the pips are starting to turn brown, a sign that physiological maturity is on its way, accompanied by a marked reduction in unwanted herbaceous flavours. Many locally have already started picking but the weather forecast for the next couple of weeks is good so he is confident that he can bring the grapes in fully ripe with a decent potential alcohol. As yields from the Croix de Mission are small (around 35hl/ha), this is feasible.

We discussed the situation in Bourgueil briefly. He was there a couple of days ago and says that the situation there is not so bright. Grapes on the sand and gravel flats have all been harvested because recent weather conditions have left a lot of standing water on the vineyards and that in turn has produced a huge problem with rot. We spoke to Pierre-Jacques Druet 2 days ago and he confirmed that it has been a big problem this year although he had only just harvested his grapes from the sand and gravel whereas many did so more that a week earlier in the rain. We are seeing him on Tuesday so will give a fuller report after our meeting with him.


  1. The grapes look so fresh. Really perfect ingredient for wine, wonder how long the whole process of making wine takes?

  2. These grapes were in perfect condition and wonderfully ripe. They were finally harvested last week. The actual process of winemaking depends very much upon individual decisions of the producers. Fermentation can take around 2-3 weeks or much longer and then different growers have different approaches with maceration, ageing in tank or wood and so on. Generally we have light to medium bodied reds in the Loire valley but the grapes in this picture are used to make a delicious quite full-bodied red which is possible due to the specific vineyard plot.