Loire Vintage Reports

Domaine de Bel Air (Pouilly Fumé), Katia Mauroy

The year started with rather mild weather leading to a fairly early bud break. This was an aggravating factor of spring frost which hit the vineyard in April, causing us to lose about a third of the yield. After which the vegetation slowly resumed its cycle, which was again slowed down during the summer period by numerous precipitations as well as relatively low temperatures. There was serious threat of mildew, prompting us to be even more vigilant. Fortunately, conditions were good during the ripening period, without precipitation.

The harvest began on September 23 and went smoothly over 5 days, with no rainy episodes or technical problems. We harvested the Pouilly Fumé vineyard first, in order to avoid the development of Botrytis which was beginning to appear in the plots. The health and aromatic quality of the harvest was very good. The 2021 vintage is well balanced: we find the typical freshness of Pouilly Fumé, which has been rather less in recent very hot years.

Fermentation and vinification were finished without any particular concerns. Two compartmentalized stainless steel tanks were purchased during the year (four underground tanks had already been coated in stainless steel in 2019) in order to be able to vinify all our soil types separately. In the vineyard, we have invested in a new tractor that will allow us greater flexibility for mechanical plowing, which is becoming increasingly important for the management of the vineyard. This tractor will also be adapted to other jobs, in order to be able to intervene at the optimum time for each operation.At the same time, we continue to train ourselves and to invest ourselves as much as possible in the major subjects of modern viticulture; respect for the environment, wine tourism, international trade, safety…

Verdier-Logel (Côtes du Forez), Julie Logel

As for the past year, it will remain in our memories as unpleasant, and nothing like a great vintage, not at all.

We have had climate concerns since 2016 (except in 2018) which were more about frost, hail and more and increased drought; especially in 2019 and 2020.

In 2021: not only did we have frost at Easter, and hail in May, but above all, a lot, way too much, rain and humidity (+ 30% rainfall compared to a normal year and more than 200 millimeters of water = 200 l of water per m² in a week, just before the harvest!) . The vines realy suffered!

The development of clusters was very slowed down, resulting in small berries. And, due to a significant lack of sun in Spring and Summer, the ripening was very complicated. In an effort to even out the maturities, Denis removed bunches in the plots of red and the result was very encouraging. Unfortunately the volumes are more than low; Denis harvested only 18 hl destined to make the red wines. The rest of the plots in red will be used for our Method Traditional (Brut 0).

For the white, the yields are diminished by a third, for the same climatic reasons; so unfortunately there will be no VIN d’ALON 2021. We will have to wait for the 2022 harvest, hoping that it will be a clement year; and hope to have VIN from ALON
early 2023!!! We are really hoping for better conditions in 2022, for the vineyards and the environment, to get back to normal quantities, always favoring quality.

Domaine Christophe Thorigny (Vouvray)

The year 2021 has been complicated.

After the frost that affected a good part of the property, there were two hail storms. If that wasn’t enough, mildew became very present and we had to be extremely vigilant not to lose the small harvest that was to come. Fearing that the heath of grapes would deteriorate, I harvested quickly as soon as maturity was reached. The result is a small half harvest with good quality.

Below is my oenologist’s comment regarding the SEC 2021:

Vintage of freshness and minerality. The 2021 reveals a nose of fresh fruit and tangy notes. The notes of fresh pear give way to fine citrus notes, clementine and grapefruit. The mouth is consistent with the nose. White fruits, a beautiful complexity. There is tension on the palate giving a long, citrus mouthfeel. The terroirs of the estate bring a touch of minerality which magnifies the finish. Great wine to drink as an aperitif with friends, with white meats, dry cheeses or seafood.

Domaine du Pas Saint Martin (Saumur), Laurent Charier

In the second half of February we had fairly warm temperatures for the season, which meant that the vines started very early. Then from mid-March to mid-April we were fearfull of spring frosts: we had up to -4 ° C on the night of March 30 to April 1. We prepared our mobile anti-freeze tower and lit braziers to warm the vines. In the end, we didn’t have any frost damage. The flowering went very well. Thanks to the dry weather we had very few maladies: almost no mildew and we managed to contain the powdery mildew with little sulfur. But this drought became a concern during the summer and blocked the ripening process in mid-August. The rain finally arrived at the end of August which allowed the vines to start producing again. This helped to reduce the gap time between phenolic and physiological maturities.

The harvest took place pleasantly under the sun. We achieved both quantity and quality.

We have returned to the production of sparkling Saumur 100% chenin brut nature, but… patience! This cuvée will only be marketed beginning 3 years from now.

Another new cuvée: “Sous le Tilleul” red, IGP Val de Loire, 100% grolleau noir , whole cluster, light and fruity wine: very delicious.

Domaine de Bel Air (Pouilly Fumé), Katia Mauroy :

The 2020 vintage was again a complex vintage, characterized by a wet winter, an early spring and a very hot and dry summer. Hence one of the earliest years from bud break to harvest, which started on September 1st. A vintage of excellent health despite a few brûlures (sunburns), with good maturity, and against all expectations, preserved acidity levels. But with great concentration and smaller volumes.

In the end, once again this year, we have a vintage of good balance and great richness, the harvest occurring at the opportune time made it possible to preserve freshness and aromas.

This year, we obtained the Haute Valeur Environnemental level 3 certification in November 2020, valid starting with the 2019 vintage. This confirms our good practices in the vineyard: limited and controlled treatments, respect for biodiversity and water management …

Grosbot-Barbara (Saint Pourçain), Denis Barbara

Spring in April and May continued its process; the vines grew quite quickly and announced an early harvest … there was no real spring frost. The start of summer (June) was gloomy, little sunshine, but no rain. Summer months brought a season heat and dryness; no thunderstorms, so no hail, but with no soothing or saving rains for the vegetation either. The drought was not as bad in 2019, evidenced by other surrounding plants and trees. But the vines ended up suffering; due to lack of water, the grapes remain small, do not fully develop; there will certainly be a lack of juice. The vines economise themselves to continue living. Though, there is no dreaded disease. We are still waiting for rain! The few drops are not enough, neither to soothe the plant, nor to fatten the grapes!

End of August / beginning of September, harvest time! Fine weather until the 12th. The rain finally arrives but too late.

As usual, the white grape varieties suffered less.

On the other hand, the red grape varieties rendered an astonishing substance, a lot concentration in very little juice. Great vigilance was essential during the vinification.

For the VIN d’ALON 2020:

The vinification went well; this wine has a beautiful aromatic freshness; the fields of clay-limestone protected it somewhat; the Tressallier held up well; it will be a floral vintage, with aromas of dried fruits, and a slightly salty character. It will undoubtedly be bottled in March 2021.

For LA CHAMBRE d’EDOUARD 2020:

Complicated vinification due to too much heat and a great lack of water. A concentration of matter; the vinification continues with close attention. This vintage is still in the making.

For LA COTE in Bransat:

(Beginning in 2018, Denis Barbara banded together a group of wine-growers, to be able to collectively purchase a large slope of land located in Bransat. Once covered in terraced vines, over time it was abandoned and became a vast wasteland. Today it is a work in progress to revitalize this historical vineyard site of Saint Pourcain.)

After a few months of rest, the first plantings took place in the last week of November during very cool temperatures in the morning but in overall very beautiful weather. 2ha have been planted with Pinot Noir.

Another event:

the return of our son Brian, but who now works for another domaine Clos de Breuilly in the heart of the village of Cesset 5km away. It is a great comfort and it also allows a tremendous physical and moral mutual aid by bringing a beautiful energy to all, to continue to bring our Saint Pourçain vineyards to life with all these projects that encourage us, despite the current particular and complicated context … to keep the hope that it will only be temporary.

Verdier-Logel (Côtes du Forez), Odile Verdier

Overall, in the vineyards the year 2020 went well, the vines developed in the best of conditions. We were spared all hail, frost and drought and we were able to begin harvesting September 11th. This year we have both quality and quantity We have already (January) bottled some of the Cuvées des Gourmets 2020 and La Vocanique will be ready in February.

Right now we are focused on pruning in the vines and also refitting a cellar and building a new tasting room.

Domaine de Bel Air (Pouilly Fumé), Katia Mauroy

The 2019 vintage was once again a complicated vintage, characterised by a cold spring and a very hot and dry summer. We escaped damage from frost, quite miraculaously, thanks perhaps to very low registered humidities. The following growing season could have been an easy one if the summer weather that followed hadn’t resulted in extremes, with excessively high temperatures and a drought that lasted until harvest.

Happily, the vine is an amazing plant, a source of inexhaustable astonishment…..It knew how to provide enough hydration to correctly nourish its grapes and provide us us with a beautiful harvest : fruit in excellent health, in spite of several scorchings, excellent maturity with, against all odds, preserved levels of acidity.

In the end, this year again, is a vintage of excellent balance and deep richness, with the harvest taking place at the opportune moment resulting in preservation of freshness and aromas.

Domaine Christophe Thorigny (Vouvray)

The harvests went very well.

The crop is correct with a good quality in spite of the difficult climactic conditions of the year : 20% of vines affected by frost in the spring, heatwaves and drought this summer.

Verdier-Logel (Côtes du Forez), Odile Verdier

The year 2019, once again, translates as an exceptional year, in the sense that the climate has upset the usual growth patterns of the vine and challenged the wine grower. Frosts during Spring and little rain caused a delayed development of the vines, which only started coming into a phase of fruit maturity at the end of August, which meant the winegrowers had to roll up their sleeves after traditional summer vacations. In the end, the harvest was quite satisfactory concerning quality. Vinification is just now finished, the wines are starting the maturing process and are already displaying a 2019 vintage that is less powerful than 2018, but more typical of the wines of the Forez and express the granite and basalt terroirs of the region.

Grosbot-Barbara (Saint Pourçain), Denis Barbara

The 2019 Spring was cold ; there was a -4° frost on April 23rd and also again on May 1st. Consequently vegetation came late and under stress ; but in contrast to the frosts of 2017, these frosts did not impact the quality of harvest. Up until mid June the vines were struggling to grow; they were in slow motion ; then all at once they started, and incredibly to the point of fully catching up on their growth cycle.

The summer got hot and dry very quickly, with very elevated temperatures. The fruit development was difficult and with no rain, the imposing drought destroyed vegetation, the trees, but the vines resisted, more so on clay-limestone soils, and on the granite soils Gamay once again accommodated itself to the dry conditions.. Bizarrely, we did not experience the difficulties that were a result of the 2003 drought .

The harvests began September 13th and they went very quickly due to the loss of volume (25 hl/ha) , under lovely, but less warm weather. The grapes were of quality. In spite of the hydric stress, the vines succeeded in concentrating the acids (low pH); we got lovely fruit (polyphenols), sweet and incredible musts, even a lot of assimilable nitrogen, resulting in even fermentations, without any difficulties.

This nascent vintage is very promising ; still it needs to be watched over, refined and carefully matured, in particular the wines which find themselves in their oak cradles. However, we can say now, that they will be structured, rich and fresh tasting.

Verdier-Logel (Côtes du Forez), Odile Verdier

The 2018 vintage was an unusual one in the vineyards of the Côtes du Forez. With the pre-mature start to the vegetative cycle and a rainy spring, the wine makers and their entire teams needed to be extremely attentive watching over each step of development of the vines, to assure the ultimate quality of the harvest. The very hot and dry month of August posed a real test to achieving proper maturation of the grapes. In the end, in reward for attentive and hard work in the vineyards, the harvest resulted in very good quality and quantity, Nature gave us a lovely 2018 vintage.

At The Cellar Verdier Logel there are changes to announce for 2019. Jacky, the founding winemaker will be retiring as he passes on his savoir–faire to his daughter Julie and nephew Maxime, who continue the Adventure, with the support of Odile. A tasting and welcoming cellar for vistors is under construction. The Winery remains in pursuit of it’s beautiful adventure and continues to evolve over time, passing on skills from one generation to another, to always offer wines of quality for the pleasure of its consumers.

Verdier-Logel (Côtes du Forez), Odile Verdier

The year was a late one, the harvest having taken the whole month of October. Spring was rainy and the month of August really dry. Happily September rains helped to ripen the grapes. In the end the vintage was very good for Gamay. The whites had more difficulty ripening.

With a very cold month of January, the evolution of the wines is slow so far, we think we will not bottle the cuvée Volcanique until April.

Grosbot-Barbara (Saint Pourçain), Denis Barbara

Revisiting the year 2016! A climatically catastrophic year during which we seemingly experienced all possible conditions :

Hail at the start of Spring, which was completely unexpected, then successive frosts followed by a very rainy Spring, too rainy, provoquing vine related diseases, above all mildew, which instead of attacking the leaves, attacked the grapes, leading to significant loss of quantity. These phenomena have not been seen in 20 years ! We had to to be very vigilant ; a lot of oversight and work in the vineyards.

By contrast, the summer was beautiful and hot withuout any hail, September was magnificent, ideal. The nights were cool, short of frost, and the days beautiful and hot, conditions which resulted in the concetration of polyphenols and natural sugars. Still, there remains a significant loss of yields.

So, in terms of climate, 2016 was an unbelievable and formidable year, leaving one to think that the 2016 vintange was one to forget, but for those who carefully monitored and worked the vines to protect the grapes, the results were truly unexpected, but in the positive.

*For the reds : A good concentration of tannins, deep rich color. In substance, chew, rich wine, ample and supple, fresh at the same time. Aromas are of freshness, small black fruits (blackberry, blueberry, cassis). On the palate, a clean attack, straightforward, good ample structure, full.

*For the whites : As in all vintages, the climatic difficulties had less impact on the quality, but , of course, affected the quantity.

Domaine Grosbot-Barbara (Saint Pourçain), Denis Barbara

Voilà what I can say about the year 2015 and the wines of this vintage :

– Climactic year : a beautiful winter reasonably cold, but wet. A Spring without frost, quite beautiful and wet. A Summer with a very hot July, too hot, causing a surficially important drought in the vineyards. Thus, no treatment, because no maladies, the positive side.

End of July, the vines like many other plants suffer ; negative side.

They slowed down their progress, to the point of stopping vegetal development, to protect themselves. We feared for the the development of the berries. Happily, in August, the weather became more clement : hot, but with beneficial rains, no storms, nor hail! The vegetation restarted .

In autumn, warm, then cold, but no hail. We began harvest the 9th of September (earlier than usual ; about 3 weeks in advance) under beautiful sunshine. The 12th and 13th it rained heavily ! The harvest finished on the 17th of September.

Domaine Christophe Thorigny (Vouvray)

For the 2015 harvest we have beautiful quality with an average yield.

The 2015 Sec has a lovely brilliance and pale gold reflections.

We have a subtle nose with notes of fleshy fruits, like pear and silex mineral notes.

On the palate we have volume and richness on the attack, white fruits in middle palate, the finish is on citrus, with delicate acid typical of Chenin which gives us beautiful length. Minerality and finesse.

Domaine de Bel Air (Pouilly Fumé), Katia Mauroy

The year 2015, after a slightly wet Spring, was hot and dry. The harvests came early : beginning the 9th of September, with excellent ripeness ( betwee 13 an 13 % alcohol) and very successful aromas.

There is very present richness on the palate. The 2015 Pouilly Fumés reveal complex aromas of white fruits (peach, pear…) with some exotic notes (mango, litchee). The balance is good with a preserved acitidy giving harmony to the roundness.

Domaine Verdier-Logel (Côtes du Forez), Odile Verdier

How to qualify 2015? A “sun” year?

This hot and arid year brought us very mature grapes in perfect healthy state and with exceptional alcoholic degrees.

The wines are warm and round, less fresh and lively than our usual production. On the other hand, they are very easy drinking and ready to drink young.

Domaine de Bel Air (Pouilly Fumé), Katia Mauroy

The 2014 vintage is very promising. After a depressing summer, we had the great luck of benefitting from an excellent month of September, beautiful, sunny, with quite cool nights. The healthy condition of the grapes allowed us to wait to harvest until as late as possible, we started the 29th of September, and in beautiful weather.

The fermentations are now finished. The wine is well balanced, round and fruity. But there is still work to do in the cellar before the wine achieves its full expression of the vintage.

Domaine Verdier-Logel (Côtes du Forez), Odile Verdier

The 2014 grape harvest is completed and the quality and quantity of this years crop is excellent thanks to a beautiful September which was sunny and hot . Summer weather continued on through an equally beautiful October.

The first bottling of La Cuvée des Gourmets 2014 will be at the beginning of December. Maxime’s [first] cuvée, 2013, was bottled at the beginning of September and is called “Apprendre à Lyres”.

Maxime Gillier, will be a full time wine grower starting this 2015 season. Jacky and I will continue to work with him for 5 years.

2014 is a great vintage for us. We have excellent quality and quantity, which is comforting for us after having had two years of bad, unpredictable weather.

In the next years we will have new varieties to discover: Gewurtztraminer, Riesling, Cot, having planted new vines in 2011, 2012, 2013

Domaine Grosbot-Barbera (Saint-Pourçain), Denis Grosbot

Until the last week-end in june, the weather was excellent for the vines.

In July and August, we had more than 40 days of rain. But, happily September and October were beautiful.

On Sepember 19 a hailstorm damaged 25% of the vineyards. I decided to not harvest this part, too damaged.

Concering the reds, 2014 is on its fruit with good body. For the whites: A lovely aromatic freshness, good persistence with notes of citrus.

Domaine Christophe Thorigny (Vouvray)

2014 is an excellent vintage.

The dry wine, which will be the base wine for the Brut non-vintage, is at least as good as preceeding vintages.

I produced a late-harvest wine, of about 80 grams of residual sugar which is very good quality.