Yes today started early at 5am when the picking of the cabernet franc grapes for the main red harvest commenced at Domaine de L’Enchantoir, some three weeks in advance of the usual time around the middle/end of October. The weather has been so kind to the Loire Valley winemakers. It has been hot and sunny for two weeks now allowing the berries to reach maturity and loose the effect of the rains on the concentration. Enchantoir’s grapes for the Saumur Rouge and Saumur Puy Notre Dame have now reached 14% potential alcohol and its a lovely day to harvest. Pierre our winemaker started with the cabernet franc of the parcels of Saumur Puy Notre Dame in his vineyards. The parcels have been kept in seperate vats and vinified so Pierre has the option of blending or not when it comes to the final stage of bottling. If last year is anything to go by the terrior produces some extraordinary differences between parcels. Next the harvester picks the cabernet franc from the parcel at the rear of the house for the first vat of pink. Pierre is clever as each year he alternates between the dry appellation of cabernet de Saumur and the demi sec of the cabernet d’anjou appellation. This year is the turn of the demi sec. Pink needs a slightly more acidic content of the berries when picked as the cabernet d’anjou in particular needs some acid to counter the sugar levels. Pierre picks the cabernet for the pinks down on the floodplain of the Thouet river below the house where the vines are sheltered and are at the bottom of the slopes. Here the maturity is slightly less than the Saumur and Puy Notre Dame at 12.5% which with the acid level gives the right balance in the finished wine.
During the day Pierre will alternate the pinks and reds so that this gives time for the pinks to be pressed whilst the reds are harvested and pumped directly into the vats as you will see from the photos.
As with the whites I reckon this could also be a good red vintage. More on another blog.
As an aside we are off back to blighty on Sunday and taking some wines for the Restaurant Show at Earls Court. The prize exhibit has to be Pierre’s 2009 Saumur Puy Notre Dame. A gold and silver medal winner. If you fancy some log onto our website www.gfwine.co.uk and grab some. Cheers.