It’s harvest time already, an extraordinarily early harvest this year as a consequence of the vines getting into leaf very early back in March/April, helped along by warm spring weather. Harvest would have been even earlier if a rather disappointingly wet and cool summer had not retarded development and subsequent ripening. Up and down the Loire vignerons are getting ready to pick, and indeed in a few domaines some vineyards have already been harvested.
Earlier this week I sent out a few requests for harvest updates and have received two interesting replies, posted here:
Wendy Paillé, Pithon-Paillé, Anjou
Hi Chris, I have been meaning to write to you to give you an update, so I am glad you contacted me and reminded me. 2011 has been a year with surprising predictions. In the months of April, May and a bit of June, we had almost no rain. With this drought, we were expecting the harvest to be at least one month in advance compared to previous years. But the rain finally came in end-June, July and August and pushed back the harvest date. We will start harvesting on Monday the 12th September, still in advance compared to last year when we started the 27th September.
Joseph tells me he is also happy about the work he did in the vineyards. He worked the soil in a good time and with the weather situation, the weeds were kept short, and the soil was aerated so when the rains fell, the water went directly to the roots. We hear our neighbor wine makers are worrying about the botrytis in the vineyards. For us, we see some botrytis in some of the vineyards but as we select grapes for the dry wines and then re-harvest for the sweets, we are not concerned at all. The cellar is prepared and we are ready for the harvest! Will keep you updated on how grapes are looking as they come in! Anyway, so far, we are happy with the millésime! – Wendy
Philippe Vatan, Chateau du Hureau, Saumur
The vintage 2011 is really very early, with our Chenin already at 12.5º in potential, as I want to harvest it between 13º and 13.5º, it won’t take long now, maybe the end of next week for the beginning.
The Cabernet Franc is between 11º and 12.5º, but may need 3 weeks to be really ripe…the only thing that can waste the whole thing would be the weather, the forecast is not brilliant for next week…the botrytis could come very fast as acidity levels seem to be low this year : this is very close to 2003, even if the summer in 2011 has been not very hot (people on holiday here certainly noticed that).
I’ll give you more informations when we’ll start the harvest. – Philippe
I will provide more updates when I have news, and perhaps hopefully some words from Muscadet and Vouvray too.