Agility of Loire’s winemakers during stressful year results in ‘remarkable wines’
A “particularly” stressful season of scorching weather followed by intermittent rain across the Loire Valley saw yields affected, but the wines remain “full of promise” due to the agility of winemakers, trade body InterLoire has said.
InterLoire’s chairman Lionel Gosseaume said that despite the “particularly stressful season” for winegrowers, which saw a huge variation from one appellation to the next in terms of yield and ripening, in terms of quality, the 2023 vintage was showing great promise, offering “a splendid balance between sweetness and acidity, with wonderful fruity notes and moderate alcohol content”.
Although yields of Cabernet Franc were affected, the wines were “full of wonderful roundness and silky tannins”, while the Chardonnay and Pinots Noir, used to make Crémant de Loire, offered “a balanced and fruity aromatic profile, with a wonderful freshness and tremendous promise for 2023’s vintage”. Scorching heat in Muscadet led some estates to harvest at night to avoid excessively high temperatures that could have triggered premature fermentation, the organisation said – but the sunshine “gave the Melon de Bourgogne grapes their distinctive freshness”.
“Bearing in mind the disparate weather conditions, the agility and technical prowess demonstrated by the winegrowers during harvesting were particularly vital this year,” Gosseaume said. “The care taken in the wine-making process is now a determining factor in ensuring a high-quality vintage to meet our consumers’ new expectations.”
Although yields were less affected in the appellations of the Centre Loire, François Dal of Sicavac, the technical arm of the BIVC (Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins du Centre), agreed that 2023 was “a typical winegrower’s vintage”.
‘Those who did a thorough job in the vineyard got their just rewards with high yields, optimal maturity and perfectly balanced juices,” he said.
The BIVC noted that grapes were healthy but with slightly lower sugar content in white grapes than in previous years. Yields are high, with juices that are “very clean and pure with impressive balance and finesse”.
After a cold and wet winter, spring came early and proved to be dry, with temperatures rising in late April after budbreak, although the wet weather returned. Growers had to remain vigilant against fungal disease in April and again in the hot and humid June, but a sudden burst of hot weather towards the end of the growing season gave a welcome boost to the maturity of the grapes just before the harvest.
“The red grapes reached phenolic maturity later than the whites, rewarding those growers who waited a bit longer to start picking,” the BIVC said.