Vincent Carême, 2012 Update

In February this year I met up with Tania Carême to taste through the latest releases from this domaine. I was of course expecting to see Vincent (pictured below) as well, but having recently broken a bone in his foot – I can’t remember how, although I’m sure Tania must have explained at the time – he was laid up somewhere while Tania did all the work. And she was doing a sterling job too, manning their stand at the 2012 Salon des Vins de Loire single-handed, despite the onslaught of enthusiastic tasters that now flock to taste the wines of this increasingly popular domaine.

The 2011 Vintage

Although we focused mainly on the 2009 and 2010 vintages when it came to tasting, I asked Tania first about the 2011 vintage, which was perhaps the obvious topic of conversation at the time. The year started off rather well, explained Tania, as spring seemed relatively warm and dry. It is not unknown to have to spray at this time of year, but there was almost no need in 2011. Unfortunately, despite the benevolence of spring, summer was less kind, being cool and wet. She and Vincent both had concerns about the progress of ripening, and there was a constant worry about rot in the vineyard. It was a vintage when cover crops really helped (not the first time I have heard this about 2011) as those vineyards planted with grasses and other greenery between the rows of vines coped better with the water than those without.

Vincent Careme

Going into harvest the Carêmes were somewhat pessimistic, especially as there was a lot of rain before harvest, which can dilute the juice as well as encouraging rot of course. Happily, later on the rain through harvest gave way to sunshine, and it seemed as though the grapes were in better condition than expected. The harvest was fast and short; with no hope of achieving further ripening or dehydrating botrytis there was no point in leaving any fruit on the vine for any longer than was absolutely necessary. This is not a vintage for moelleux for that reason. The fruit was generally healthy though, and so there should be some decent sec cuvées at the very least, and sparkling of course.

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