Domaine de la Taille aux Loups, 2013 Update

Eager to keep up to date with the ‘old guard’ in Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire, as well as uncovering new stories with the likes of Sebastien Brunet and Mathieu Cosme, I made a beeline for Jacky Blot at the 2013 Salon des Vins de Loire. Tasting with Jacky Blot is usually nothing less than instructive, and this encounter was true to form. In a very pure run through of the wines of Domaine de la Taille aux Loups from the 2012 vintage, all samples drawn from the barrel for this tasting, and then the 2011 vintage, the wines all now in bottle, I think I learnt much of what I needed to know about the two vintages, and what they mean for the two most important white wine appellations of Touraine, Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire. The information comes not only from the wines Jacky has made, their styles and characters, and not only from Jacky’s words, as he talks through each vintage; a true understanding of the vintage also comes from an appreciation of which wines Jacky hasn’t made, and why.

The 2012 Vintage

We began with the 2012 vintage, and worked our way through all the cuvées from sec all the way up to… err.. sec. There isn’t the slightest sniff of residual sugar in this vintage, and so it is one devoid of demi-sec and moelleux cuvées, as is really the case across the entire Montlouis-sur-Loire and Vouvray appellations in 2012. As I have already discussed in my Loire 2012 report it was a vintage beset by poor weather, especially during flowering, which was delayed and impaired as a result. The consequence was reduced fruit set which lowered yields, this then being compounded by the continuing bad weather, which engendered mildew and later on in the season grey rot.

Taille aux Loups

The declared volume in 2012 was just 12 hl/ha, compared to a typical yield across the domaine of 35 hl/ha, which might usually be 40 hl/ha for the grapes destined for the sparkling wines, and 25 hl/ha for the grapes destined for the still wines. The lower figure for this most recent vintage places Jacky firmly alongside the other organic and biodynamic domaines of Montlouis-sur-Loire and Vouvray, despite criticisms of Jacky from some quarters for not having his organic status certified. The small band of critics include several of his peers within the region, and also certain sections of the French wine press. None of this information came from Jacky, however, who during our tasting naturally focused on the wines he was pouring. Nevertheless, I do know that Jacky is considering having his work certified in order to silence his critics.

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