Henri Bourgeois, 2022 Update
Having tasted a trio of vintages of La Côte des Monts Damnés alongside Château Couhins-Lurton, with Arnaud Bourgeois and Jacques Lurton in attendance, it is only natural that I wanted to catch up with a broader selection of more recent releases from Arnaud and family. I stopped off to learn more about the 2021 vintage, and hopefully to taste a few examples, and perhaps one or two earlier releases from prior vintages. Arnaud didn’t hold back, and pretty soon I was immersed in a sea of 2018, 2017 and 2016 samples.
First, though, a few words on the 2021 vintage chez Bourgeois.
As readers who have checked out my Loire Valley 2021 vintage report will already know, this was a year heavily impacted by frost, one equally as serious as that seen in 1991. Even in severely frosted vintages, recent candidates alongside 2021 being 2016, 2017 and 2019, Sancerre often gets away with it. The local topography, the plateau cut through in many directions by a multitude of small valleys, is protective; freezing air tends to run down into the valleys, away from the vines, which are largely situated on the plateau and slopes. This was not enough in 2021 though, and many of those working in Sancerre were as badly affected as their peers in other appellations.
The worst affected regions in the Sancerre appellation, according to Arnaud, were Chavignol, Maimbray and around the town of Sancerre itself. The Bourgeois family are based in Chavignol of course, but they have vines everywhere, and they lost 30% of the crop. Subsequent to the frost, 2021 was also heavily impacted by rain and mildew, although this was dealt with in the customary fashion. The Famille Bourgeois vineyards are generally organic, either certified or in conversion, so this necessitated regular treatment with organic sprays. Where the ground was too waterlogged to access the vineyard using a tractor, the well equipped Bourgeois family simply switched to caterpillars which can access any terrain, regardless of its condition.