So here is my first report on the 2012 vintage from a Saumur Champigny appellation. Chateau de Chaintres. We tasted with the wine maker and estate director Richard Desouche. So first we need to examine what went on during the season to have an understanding of the vintage. Pruning usually takes place over the winter months of December to March. In the early part of the year late February there was a very cold period in the Loire valley with severe frost down to minus 15 centigrade. This affected the bud formation because of the lateness of the frost. Wine makers are always worried about late frosts. The pruning in this area is to eight to ten buds on long and short branches, and the loss of bud formation therefore will ultimately result in a reduced harvest. Generally about 20% of buds were affected. The second major event to affect the vintage was the cold spell over the flowering period and this affected the berry formation with loss of berries resulting again in the reduced harvest. The third event was the wet early summer and the lack of sunshine with lower than normal temperatures. Again this had an effect on the development of the berries with lack of concentration and lower sugar levels. The results of all this was a harvest much less than normal and a juice with less concentration of flavours. Our winemakers are reporting yields of 50% less than normal. Chateaux de Chaintres usually has yields of 40 to 45 hl/ha whereas 2012 produced only 20 to 25 hl/ha on the Saumur Champigny appellation cuveés of Domaine, Chateau and des Oratorien. The Chenin harvest was even lower at 10 to 12 hl/ha a real drop from the normal levels. Appellation maximum is 60 hl/ha. You would think that this would trigger a higher concentration from the vine but because of the amount of rain this has not happened. We will talk about the actual tasting tomorrow. Quality wise the berries were in good condition despite the wet conditions and tis is probably due to Richard's close attention to the vines. Chaintres is also now organic and the combinatin of ploughing and natural vegitation allowed more mositure to be taken into the soil without allowing the damp to linger around the berries. Chateaude Chaintres is one of the top Saumur Champigny appellations. www.chaintres.fr Cheers.