Domaine de la Noblaie, 2016 Update

It is a good time to be interested in the red wines of the Loire Valley, by which I am really referring to the Cabernet Franc heartland of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny, Bourgueil, St-Nicolas de Bourgueil and, of course, Chinon. These are appellations where vignerons have been battling against the odds for a couple of vintages. Although 2011 was a blessing in disguise, the difficult season ending in a long (albeit somewhat humid) Indian summer which has given us some dark and concentrated red wines, it was all downhill from there in the two years that followed. The 2012 vintage was rather cool and the wines, although pure and fresh, tend to lack generosity. The 2013 vintage was a washout, as it was in Bordeaux, and it was a year which tested the mettle of the men and women making the wine more than any other in recent years.

Domaine de la Noblaie

Why is that interesting? First, because in 2012 and especially in 2013 we see how these vignerons cope in severely adverse conditions. Secondly (and perhaps of more interest!), the trend is now uphill again. The 2014 vintage was more benevolent, and I suspect 2015 will also turn out to be at least very good, perhaps even better. I am looking forward to getting my teeth into these two more recent vintages. First, though, I am clearing the decks, working my way through some reports on the 2012s and 2013s. In doing so I now come to Jérôme Billard (pictured above) and Domaine de la Noblaie.

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