Breaking Bad Luck: Loire Valley Sees Promising Vintage

After two years of tough weather, the Loire Valley is on the rebound.


Local wine sources are reporting that the region enjoyed a warm September, which promoted ripening in the wake of a cool summer which brought with it rain and the increased possibility of rot.


Though conditions were not ideal, winemakers breathed a sigh of relief after experiencing consecutive years of relative disaster in which vineyards experienced  frost and storms (2012) and disruptive hail (2013).


The warm September proved beneficial for Sancerre, which, according to local sources, produced good quality and quantity of Sauvingnon Blanc.


Cher Valley also reported positive news. Thesée winemaker Vincent Ricard told one local wine blogger the 2014 vintage produced “the most beautiful grapes I can remember.” 


Ricard, along with other winemakers in Loire, saw lower harvest numbers than they would have liked. 


English-language French newspaper The Connexion reported this summer that numbers were estimated to hit 45.4 million hectoliters, which is higher than the past two years’ harvests.

“After two years of excessively low harvests, we’re getting back to normal,” FranceAgriMer’s Jerome Despey told The Connexion.


The 2013 Loire harvest was a veritable nightmare for Vouvray and Montlouis, in particular, according to Master of Wine Jancis Robinson’s report on the villainous vintage. 


“An annus horribilis for the producers of Vouvray and Montlouis whose crops were almost entirely wiped out by a June hailstorm,” she reported.


As is often the case with the Loire, bad weather in some areas was counteracted by good weather in other areas. 


“Elsewhere a sound vintage with good acidity,” Robinson wrote.


Les Vins du Centre Loire echoed Robinson’s sentiments about the Jekyll-and-Hyde harvest, saying, “”A long, drawn out growing season; harvest dates later than we have seen for 20 years or more … the 2013 vintage is definitely playing a waiting game; but in the end, it is likely to impress us all.


The 2012 Loire harvest faced many challenges as well. Yields were about half the average, Robinson said.


Despite the low yields of 2012, the vintage rated well, with one ratings site posting scores of 90+ for the region’s reds and whites.


The Loire Valley region is home to more than 65,000 hectares of vineyards with 61 appellations, according to the region’s press kit. The Loire is France’s leading producer of white wine, the kit said.


Source: Snooth – Articles


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