Domaine des Aubuisières, 2013 Update

Having already tasted with François Chidaine, Jacky Blot, Vincent Carême and a number or other Vouvray and Montlouis vignerons at the 2013 Salon des Vins de Loire, the time came to taste with Bernard Fouquet of Domaine des Aubuisières. I was by now aware that the 2012 vintage had been a very troublesome one for the aforementioned vignerons; the potential for good (but certainly not great) quality was there, but for biodynamic and organic (whether certified or not) domaines yields were well down. The declared quantities tended to hover around 12 hl/ha; hopefully this will give them enough bottles to sell in order to keep the wolf from the door, but life as a Vouvray vigneron would not be tenable if such figures were to be repeated on a regular basis.

Domaine des Aubuisières

Bernard (pictured above), however, presented a different side of the vintage; his vines were no less battered by the rains and the frosts than anyone else’s, but with a more conventional approach to viticulture – and here ‘conventional’ means using chemical sprays in the vineyard against mildew, a major threat in the vineyard in this growing season – Bernard was able to harvest 45 hl/ha from his various plots of vines. That he should be able to do so is not particularly newsworthy, as this has always been a significant draw of chemical treatments to the time-short and cash-pressed vigneron. What I found interesting about the figure was that, in a vintage where many ascribed the largest part of the reduction in yields to the coulure and millerandage that followed on from cold weather during flowering, Bernard’s success would seem to indicate that the diseases that came with the inclement ‘summer’ weather were no less responsible for the vines’ failings this year.

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