2016 Vintage in the Loire Valley

Bouteilles en cave Touraine / Photo by Louis-Marie Blanchard

A fine end to the summer and ideal weather conditions at the end of the season have put a smile back on the faces of the Loire winegrowers, who have had to deal with a complex array of weather patterns throughout the year. This vintage is set to be flavorsome and fruit-driven, with good balance and ample availability to supply market needs.

The 2016 vintage for whites by grape:
Melon de Bourgogne : fresh and full of flavour
  • Vines for Muscadet were badly affected by both frost and hydric stress this year; however, September’s perfect weather conditions ensured grapes are high in quality leading us to expect wines similar to those of 2009 and 2010.
Sauvignon : concentrated grapes and good aromatic expression
  • Good grape health combined with good harvest weather conditions have led to a juice yield often 10-15% higher than initially predicted for Sauvignons.
Chenin, dry and sweet : a noteworthy success
  • All agree that the high quality of this vintage needs to be emphasized. Apart from parcels affected by frost, this year’s Chenin harvests have given us both quality and quantity. Falls in harvest volumes for Anjou, Touraine and Vouvray appellation are set to be increased compare to 2015.
The bubbles:
Chardonnay and Chenin
  • September’s excellent weather meant that growers were in no hurry to harvest, and were able to wait for grapes to reach peak ripeness before starting off their base wines.
  • In Anjou, juice yields at pressing have been very high, in some cases partially offsetting low per-hectare yields. Base wines are fresh and well balanced, showing notes of citrus.
  • A fall of 5% in harvest volume (compared with 2015) is predicted for Crémant-de-Loire and Saumur sparkling wines.
The reds and the rosés:
Cabernet franc : elegantly distinctive
  • Tastings of the first juices confirm good extraction with supple fruit and a touch of elegance. Harvests in Chinon are down by some 50% (50,000 hl), while in the Saumur and Anjou areas – which were spared the worst of the weather – the fall will be around 15%. Good news too for Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, where the drop in volume is no more than 15-20% (50,000 hl). Harvests for Cabernet-d’Anjou are also looking good – a drop of 10% compared to 2015.
Gamay : excellent ripeness
  • To the east of Touraine, the Gamay grapes ripened well in the warm September sunshine. The fruit is beautifully fresh, and shows a lovely fuchsia-purple colour. 2016 vintage are set to be a great success. Nevertheless, general enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that this year’s harvest levels may only be around half of the norm.
Grolleau : focusing on fruit
  • The Grolleau juices have reached fermentation stage without encountering any particular problems. Focus is on highlighting the fruity flavours using a process of débourbage. Rosé-d’Anjou and Rosé-de-Loire are predicted to fall by 10% (160,000 hl) in comparison to last year’s figures.

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Published on December 13, 2016