Most producers in the Loire valley are looking towards harvest now. Grapes destined for Crémant are already coming in and others will follow. Frederic Mabileau was busy bottling this week – making room for this year’s harvest. It’s been a tricky year in the vineyard with freak hailstorms virtually wiping out vineyards in appellations such as Vouvray but St Nicholas de Bourgueil has luckily been spared during 2013 and despite a late start to the season, the Loire has been blessed with 8 weeks of continually sunny weather. Harvest is pretty late this year and growers are still hoping for an extra burst of sun to push the Cabernet Franc to full ripeness. Hopes are high for a good vintage.
Frederic Mabileau has 28 hectares in the St Nicholas de Bourgueil, Bourgueil, Saumur and Anjou appellations. Since 2005 all grapes have been hand harvested and then sorted again on arrival at the winery to ensure only the best quality grapes are selected . Today the vineyards are all certified organic and the domaine embraces the bio-dynamic approach in an attempt to try and preserve the delicate balance between the vine and its environment.
There is a purity of fruit in the wines that we find very attractive. From the easy drinking cuvée Petits Grains to the linear, tight Eclipse, the Cabernet Franc rules. The Saumur Blanc Chenin du Puy is delicious – a wine partially fermented in oak and then aged in 600L oak for 12 months. It has wonderful tropical aromas of pineapple and pear and a lovely minerality.