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Both the Loire and at Dourthe, Château La Garde in Pessac-Léognan, vintage has arrived two weeks ahead of schedule.
A warm spring followed by a rather cool summer, has meant “excellent levels of ripeness” are currently indicated across the whole of the Loire region, with a good ratio of sugar to acidity.
Although in certain areas, the recent spate of high temperatures and fierce storms has left the “winegrowers’ nerves in tatters”, according to trade body InterLoire.
Close observation, careful selection and judicious vinification will be more important than ever to ensure that this is a vintage to remember; this is where the fine touch of a master winemaker really comes into its own.
InterLoire reports the 2011 vintage is tending towards fresh, easy-drinking reds and flavour-filled, aromatic whites.
In Anjou-Saumur harvesting started on August 23 for the Crémants-de-Loire and Anjou and Saumur sparklers (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir).
The Nantais began August 24, with Touraine Chardonnay harvests for the Crémants-de-Loire should be starting this week, and the Cabernet harvest is due to start around September 15.
Over at Dourthe in Pessac-Léognan “The first batches of white grapes are ripe and very aromatic,” says Patrick Jestin, president of Vins et Vignobles Dourthe (CVBG).
Its harvest started in the early morning of August 25, with the harvesting by hand of Sauvignon Gris and few rows of Sauvignon Blanc.
“The balance is excellent with normal acidity levels and lower sugar concentration than 2010 – this enhances aromatic intensity and complexity,” Jestin added.
“The red grapes are developing well,” he continues “and picking could start at the end of next week for the young vines and early ripening Merlots.
“The harvest is about two weeks ahead of last year but we have still to decide on a picking date for the reds.
“We have sun and cool nights and hope we don’t get too much rain. “
Story by Carol Emmas
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review