While most of the Cab Francs have been brought in in the appellations of Chinon, Bourgueil and St Nicolas de Bourgueil there are still grapes hanging on the vines in Anjou.
Christophe Daviau has yet to pick his Cabernet Sauvignon. There is adequate ripeness in the grapes but he has not yet got the phenolic ripeness he looks for and so is holding off for a few more days.
At Chateau de Fesles, the Cabernet Franc came in with a potential of 15° alcohol. Gilles Bigot, the winemaker is also concerned about phenolic ripeness this year.
One would imagine that hot and sunny conditions would have made it easy for growers making red wine in the Loire but the lack of rain during the late summer months coupled with the fact that Cabernet Franc suffers from hydric stress have made it quite difficult to get grapes ripe.
It was interesting for us to taste juice brought in at Chateau de Fesles. Two tanks, picked the same day, treated in two different ways. One heated to 70° briefly and then cooled down and the other left at around 8°. Heating the wine briefly extracts lots of colour and you can see what a dramatic effect this has looking at the photo of the two musts. The heated must was richer in bramble fruit with more tannin and a rounder quality while the unheated must showed a much greener, redcurrant character and was much paler in colour.
Careful winemaking will be the key to making good reds in Anjou this year. Phenolic ripeness has been difficult to achieve and we can expect wines that are high in alcohol in 2018.