What’s been going on in the Loire valley vineyards in February 2020

Pruning continues as growers set up their vineyards for the coming season and fingers are firmy crossed as the daffs are already showing their blooms.

We’ve had a lot of rain recently and this has made it difficult to get out and about in the vineyards without the fear of damaging soils.

As we walk around the plateau of Vouvray we’re seeing a lot of standing water between the rows where soils have not been well maintained. Deep channels, eroded over time, full of stagnent water. This doesn’t mean there won’t be grapes this year for them, on the contrary, there will. It’s sad to see so many growers sit back and let their land deteriorate to such a degree.

On the positive side, we haven’t seen too much evidence of Round Up being used this year (or maybe this is to come).

Even our winemaker friend Philippe Chigard who has a business working the best vineyards using his carthorses says he is 15 days behind with his work. Normally horses can work the land when tractors can’t but this year, even his beautiful horses can’t get in between the rows at the moment.

Out of the vineyards growers have been attending the many tastings and salons that take place in February each year both in France but also further afield in the UK and US. The 2019’s that we’ve tasted so far are very encouraging with nicely balanced acidities (higher than in 2018) and rich ripe fruit. on the reds. Alcohols are looking quite high on some of the reds as growers had to wait longer than normal to achieve phenolic maturity.

The Cabernet Franc was particularly trixy last season around here but for those who waited, the results are very encouraging.