I received a few thoughts from Christophe Daviau of Domaine de Bablut on the 2011 vintage this morning so have taken the opportunity to translate them into English.
It's already a month since the harvest finished.
We brought in the last grapes on Tuesday 11th October - it was those from the hillsides of the Grouas and those destined for Petra Alba that closed the season for us. It's quite rare to finish so early. It was in part what we all expected but also partly due to the fact that the passes through the Coteaux de L'Aubance normally push us right in to mid-November and this year, with the hot and humid weather in September, noble rot spread quickly through the rows and the yields from the Grandpierre parcel were down due to a localised hailstorm in April.
The Sauvignon blanc 'Petit-Princé' and the Rosé de Loire are ageing gently on their lees, Ordovicien has just about finished 'devouring' its last sugars and the rich sweet wines are in full swing.
As for the reds, we can expect another great year. I have to admit being a little concerned about the Cabernet Franc but the results are very surprising. We took the decision to hold off harvesting until the grapes had achieved full phenolic maturity (always a risk) as they were lagging behind at the beginning of September. The Petra Alba and Rocca Nigra are still macerating (or should I say infusing!) and are tasting very good indeed. I am pleasantly surprised by the fruit and the roundness of the tannins. The heterogeneity of the Cabernets (particularly the Cabernet Franc) worried me before harvest and I feared we would see vegetal notes in the wines due to these grapes having a delayed maturation, however, I am delighted with what we have. It seems that we made the right decision delaying harvest and have avoided the problem. I can't say that the level will be up there with 2009 and 2010 but it will be very good.
Watch this space...