We miss our winemaker friends in Anjou so it was a pleasure to catch up with Antoine and Nathalie Leduc of Leduc Frouin at the Salon yesterday.
Antoine makes wines that we drink on a regular basis. Wines that deliver time and time again and that are really good value for money. We’ve loved his Cremant de Loire for years and it still delivers on quality. His reds are balanced and have a lovely freshness and his rosés have excellent sugar acid balance.
The domaine lost 50% of its total harvest in 2019 due to frost. They vinified 60hl in 2019 compared with 120hl in 2018. Two episdoes hit Leduc Frouin’s vineyards, the beginning of April and the beginning of May. Luckily for them (and many growers) 2018 was an abundant year so that provides a cushion for the lack of wine. Another year with the same damage however, would make it very difficult for them.
Another worry is the very mild winter that we’re having. The sun is shining in through the windows and the front door is open as I write. These early, warm spring temperatures are becoming more and more common in February which pushes the vines towards a very early budburst.
Like many growers, their main preoccupation at the moment is when and how hard to prune. They know that pruning late is key and not when temperatures are mild as they are today but this is easier said than done when you employ a temporary team of seasonal workers. In this situation it’s very difficult to leave things until the last minute.
Antoine’s 2018 reds (Anjou Rouge and Anjou Villages) are bursting with ripe red fruits and have lovely concentration. They seem bigger than normal (although what is normal these days?). The 2017’s have more tension and noticeable freshness that we find very attractive.
Our favourite wine of the tasting was La Seignerie 2018 a delicious Chenin Blanc which has had some oak aging and has wonderful citric fruit and freshness. It’s due to be bottled in March so we’ll have to have a little patience.