Noble rot developing on Chenin Blanc@Bellerive, Quarts de Chaume (26.9.10)
This is the third consecutive year I have spent three weeks or more in the Loire during harvest. You would think that three weeks would be plenty of time to see much of the valley between Nantes and Sancerre. Each year, however, is a race against time. So far this year we have made various visits in Touraine, the Pays Nantais and now in Anjou.
By now the Muscadet producers will mostly have finished. Of the eight we visited last week, seven were very happy with the quality of 2010, although there is more rot than last year when the grapes were perfectly. Serious producers will be cutting out the rot in the vineyards. One producers on the western side of the Lac de Grandlieu as he had been hit by heavy rain on the 7th September, which had provoked rot.
We had wonderful fine weather until last Thursday with clear blue skies and temperatures in the high 20s. There was widespread rain Thursday evening into early Friday morning. Amounts in Anjou varied between 12mm and 20mm, while in Eastern Touraine there was up to 40mm.
Surprisingly even in Touraine the heavy rain doesn’t seem to have caused too much damage as it was cool afterwards and the ground was hard, so picking machines were soon able to start working again.
The weather is now more autumnal – there were thin, misty rain showers this afternoon in Anjou.
Producers here are busy picking the early varieties – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc , Gamay and Grolleau. The Chenin Blanc seems to be developing quickly, while the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon is gently ripening and so far looks good – resisting for the moment the downturn in the weather.
Still a long way to go, however. Off to Sancerre and Pouilly at the end of the week.
The necessity of cryoextraction
A visit to the Quarts de Chaume yesterday afternoon provided a simple explanation why some Quarts producers have demanded the right to use cryoextraction.
Two photos speak more than words:
Up to eighteen bunches per vine (admittedly vine large)
Could you ever make naturally sweet, high quality from such grapes?
Very good news!
At their meeting last night the Syndicat des Quarts de Chaume voted decisively against the use of cryoextraction (also called cryosélection). Domaine Baumard, who have been allowed to use this technique until now; will be given time to adapt to the ban.
I should make it clear that the bunches of very green grapes pictured above belong to one producer and are by no means typical of the fruit in the rest of the appellation.