Domaine de L’Echantoir 2011 vintage Part 1

The berries after harvesting with the mechanical picker. See how good they are.

During our visit to France at the beginning of December we tasted the 2011 wines of Domaine de L’Enchantoir. Here is the report on the wines vinified from the vendange by Pierre Van Den Boom the winemaker.

First up  white Saumur AOC wine from the chenin grape.  Here lies the true essense of a passionate wine maker. I witnessed a sorry period of wet weather in late August with Pierre. It looked bad for a time.  I visited regularly to see him,  meet the oenologist and inspect the vines. The problem for Pierre (like all the other producers) was that he was in a difficult postion. The grapes were not yet fully mature but if he left them to mature they may all rot with the damp conditions. Like previous years Pierre decided to wait but to allow his grapes to be given the best chance of achieving full maturity and not go rotten he went out into the vines with Brigitte his wife and his workers to firstly cut  away the lower leaves  to allow as much air circulation as possible and to cut out any rotten berries off the bunches. This was all done by hand some 16 hectares of not just chenin but also cabernet frnac although this is a better grape at resisting rot.

The result was that fortunately the weather got better and the sun came out to allow the grapes to fully mature and come harvest on 15 September the berries were in great shape with very little  rot. This meant that the juice after pressing was prime and mature to 14% potential alcohol. The tasting from the vat whilst the wine was still fermenting showed that Pierre had made the right decision and I reckon that this will be another great year for the dry Chenin of Enchantoir. Well done Pierre.

However on this vintage tread carefully because many of the domaines either picked early before full maturity which will produce a sharp acidic or they waited and had a lot of rot in the harvest producing a ‘rust’ flavour to the wine. Go carefully.

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December 2011
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