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Vincent Carême, 2018 Update

No trip through the Loire Valley would be complete without calling in on Vincent Carême. Not only is he now in my opinion running one of the Vouvray appellation’s top-tier domaines, since the 2014 vintage his wines are easily the equal of similar cuvées from the established old guard. Vincent is also mentor to a number of well-known up-and-coming vignerons in the region, and he has his finger on the pulse of Vouvray. and of the vintage in general. I never come away from meeting him without feeling thoroughly enlightened.

On this most recent encounter I tasted wines mostly from the 2016 and 2015 vintages which are now coming through onto the market, although I did also have a quick snifter of the entry-level 2017 Vouvray Sec, or to be more precise one component of the blend, from young vines in Noizay (which at least allows me to include one of my photographs of the 2017 harvest, chez Carême, below).

Vincent Carême

Both the 2017 and 2016 vintages were touched by frost; in 2017 the temperatures went sub-zero for at least three nights starting on April 26th. The mercury bottomed out at -4ºC, and as a consequence Vincent lost between 20% and 25% of his crop. This was worse than he had originally thought, as it turned out that some parcels he initially believed had escaped harm were in fact damaged, the shoots growing erratically, the vines yielding no fruit. Overall the situation was a little worse than the 2016 vintage, when Vincent lost between 15% and 20% through a combination of frost, mildew and poor flowering. Vincent remains thankful though, as he knows friends and neighbours who have lost far more than 20% of their crop in 2017 (and probably in 2016 as well).

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