Harvest news from the Loire Valley

Gadais, 4 October

The climatic conditions of this year, optimum for the vegetative development of the vine, led us to have an unusual early harvest. So we started the harvest this year on the day of Saint-Fiacre on 30th August. And we finished the harvest on the 12th September.

Concerning this vintage, 2 observations:

The vines that didn’t freeze brought us a crop of unusual quality. Very nice alcoholic levels so very little chaptalization but also a higher acidity than in 2016. Therefore, very good balance, better than the previous vintage so wines easier to digest.

Very good year from a qualitative point of view, but not so good in terms of quantity. The frozen vines didn’t give us anything and when we noticed the health conditions of the vines degrade before maturity in these plots, we decided not to pick them.

As for the wines, all the fermentations are finished and the vats are now stabilised. Now begins the traditional ageing on lees, which will last throughout the winter until bottling, authorised from 1 March.

Pierre-Henri Gadais

Domaine Raffault – Chinon, 13 October

We finished the harvest a week ago, the quality is really exceptional with superb ripeness, nose of blackcurrant, blackberry, while maintaining a very beautiful freshness.

The summer was regularly hot and dry, with a few peaks of heat waves and also some well-placed rainfall that revived the vegetative activity at the right time.

We started the harvest on September 19th, 15 days earlier than usual.

The wines produced from the limestone soils of the Clos d’Isoré (which has hardly suffered the frost compared to 2016 – thanks to the installation of an antifreeze tower), Le Puy and Clos de l’Hospice, will give very fine wines with degrees between 13 and 14%.

Anti-frost tower

The Picasses have been heavily frozen (80%), which is very rare in this area but the few grapes that have resisted will give a very concentrated wine.

For wines produced from sandy soils (Les Galuches), some vines that were able to compensate for the 2016 frost were generous enough, but the quality level is very good with reasonable levels around 12.5-13% and very beautiful fruit.

In terms of yields, the situation is better than in 2016, although it is still in deficit (probably around 35hl / ha of average in 2017 against 22hl / ha in 2016).

On the other hand, we have increased the area in organic conversion in 2016, which now reaches 30ha by 50, and which includes all our wines: Les Galuches, Les Picasses, Clos d’Isore, Le Puy and Clos de l’Hospice

And finally we received some good notes in the Wine Spectator and a quote in an article on the 2015 vintage. Rodolphe Raffault

The reds of Chinon and Bourgueuil enjoyed the extra warmth of 2015, producing wines of depth and substance that should appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. “The profile of 2015 is very accessible young, though the clay-limestone terroirs will also have a very good potential to age,” says Rodolphe Raffault of Jean-Maurice Raffault in Chinon.

The vigneron’s limestone-based Chinon Clos de l’Hospice 2015 (93, $40) leads the way here, showing a beautiful beam of cassis and plum fruit inlaid with a seamless chalky spine and backed by alluring bergamot, violet and white pepper notes…..”

Chinon Clos de l’Hospice 2015 “A beautiful beam of cassis and plum fruit glides through, inlaid with a seamless chalky spine and backed by alluring bergamot, violet and white pepper notes. The sleek, pure finish is very long. Drink now through 2027”. 93 Points Wine Spectator, James Molesworth, 30 Sept 2017

Chinon Clos d’Isoré 2015 “Very fresh, with bright cassis and bitter cherry coulis flavours streaking through, underlined with light chalky minerality and backed by a long, floral- and savoury-edged finish. Shows delightful purity. Best from 2018 through 2023”. 92 Points Wine Spectator, James Molesworth, 30 Sept 2017

And previous scores….

Chinon Clos d’Isoré 2014 “Well-built, with a core of dark currant and cherry fruit flavors carried by brambly tannins, picking up singed bay and smoldering tobacco notes along the way. Dark-edged finish, but still pure and racy in feel overall. Best from 2017 through 2022”.91 Points Wine Spectator, James Molesworth, 2016

Chinon 2015 “Very inviting, with a core of gently steeped cherry and damson plum fruit supported by mouthwatering, chalky tannins and backed by racy savoury and bay leaf notes. Reveals a long iron accent. Best from 2017 through 2023”. 91 Points Wine Spectator, James Molesworth, Nov 2016

Jean-François Roy, 19 September

We have just finished the harvest, a very difficult year in volume after the long days of frost – It reminds us of the severe frost of 1991

Jean-François Roy

Domaine Jean-Max Roger – Sancerre

See also:

Burgundy Harvest 2017: https://champagnesandchateaux.co.uk/harvest-news-burgundy/

Amadieu, Gigondas Harvest 2017: https://champagnesandchateaux.co.uk/amadieu-harvest-2017-gigondas/

Italy and Spain Harvest 2017: https://champagnesandchateaux.co.uk/harvest-news-italy-spain/