Articles from: August 17, 2011

A fab day in the vineyards

Richard with guests Kevin and Alison

What more would you want than a day spent in the vineyards discussing wine, tasting with the winemaker himself and enjoying lunch on a glorious sunny day overlooking the vista of vineyards that covers you complete view.

Kevin and Alison from Reading had the experience of a wonderful day in such circumstances. My talk before we set off was aimed at introducing our guests to the wines of the Loire valley and in particular those of Anjou and Saumur, the middle section between Angers and Chinon. So its a little bit of history, some words on appellations and quality standards and regulations, the grape varieties and styles, and finally about the process of making the wines of this area.

 Our morning visit was to Chateau de Chaintres and a walk through the vineyards to see the state of play of the grapes which are now almost all at a stage where they have reached verasion and the sugars are now increasing quickly. A taste of a cabernet franc berry from a vine gives some sweetness and less acid so confirming that we are fast approaching the harvest. It will probably be in the middle of September. Richard’s vineyard is looking decidedly green as the recent rains has allowed the ground underneath the vines and between the rows to sprout lots and lots of weeds. Richard is organic so he is not too fussed and is happy to give the insects some flora and fauna to enjoy. He will just make sure that the weeds under the vines do not interfer with the bunches of grapes that need the the sun. He is also in the middle of  pruning the vines on their sides and top to maintain the canopy of leaves for the transition of the sugars through the photosynthesis process. Richard only does two visits to his vines during the season to prune the plants.

We visited the wineroom and Richard explained that he was just about to bottle his 2010 Chateau cuvee. This entails some blending as he has  four vats full of the wines which are his middle range Saumur Champigny reds. He will blend these wines together from each vat in the right proportions to maintain the same mix. He showed us his calculations of the amount of each vat to be sent to the vat which will be the blended cuvee. Its quite complicated as the overall volume does not fit into one vat so he has to blend in part quantities. I’ll let you know about the 2010 chateau when I do a tasting with Richard. So far the development has progressed well and I reckon it’ll will be as good  if not better than 2009.

We have some 2009 Chateau left in stock and we have it on offer to make way for the 2010, so grab a bargain at Cheers.