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Saving the Vines in Burgundy and Loire Valley

Saving the Vines in Burgundy and Loire Valley

It seems that only during harvest is there a surge of attention on vineyard health. We often forget how fragile the vines can be throughout the rest of the year. For grapes only have one harvest cycle a year, so in reality, every moment is important. In the last week of April, freezing temperatures hit the Loire Valley and Chablis, damaging hundreds of hectares of vines. It is a tragic beginning to the 2016 harvest and the worst since 1981 or 2004 according to some.

So winemaker, proprietors and viticulturist did everything they could to save their precious vines. They sprayed the vines with water to control the temperature.  They lit fires between the vines to fight off the cold. It was an outpouring of love, terror, passion and a state of emergency given to the vines. Burgundy-based photographer Aurélien Ibanez captured all these emotions beautifully. This week’s selection honors some of the great wines from nearby this area. Raise a glass to their heroic efforts to save the wine.


Domaine Guy Robin & Fils – Les Clos Vieilles Vignes 2009
France – Burgundy – Chablis – Grand Cru – White
90 Points
Good dose of freshness there, with yellow fruit flavours, sunny fruit. Good grip and length, quite full, with a fine persistence. Still younger on the palate than the nose suggested. Certainly a wine that still has the potential to develop in a good cellar, but I find it very nicely balanced today, with a fine drinkability, in a pure, quite structured, unoaked Chardonnay style.”

Domaine de La Perruche – Le Chaumont  2015
France – Loire Valley – Saumur Champigny – Red
86 Points
Some floral notes like violet, with red fruit. Medium towards long finish with some fresh white pepper, some herbal notes. I would like to put this back in the cellar for just a short period of time, one to two years to round off the edges and then it should be a quite enjoyable wine.”

Jean-Marc Brocard – Les Clos 2013
France – Burgundy – Chablis – Grand Cru – White
90 Points 
Very good grip on the palate, rather full, still without oak or any opulence, it’s rather pure, fresh and zesty, with a good core, still youthful and unresolved fruit, but a good degree of freshness and a long finish. Nice mineral intense and pure finish, no traces of oak.”

Château De Fesles - 2011
France – Loire Valley – Bonnezeaux – Chenin Blanc – Sweet
89 Points
Really intense with a marvelous purity. Excellent structure here. Full-bodied with a good extract. It is a wine with a high degree of sweetness, but well underlined by very bright acidity. Good extract. Tropical yellow fruit, honeyed, but beautiful.

Château La Varière – Vieilles Vignes 2014
France – Loire Valley – Anjou Villages Brissac – Red
88 Points
Quite delicious red fruit on the mid-palate. Freshly crushed raspberries, cherry, redcurrant. Quite long and lingering finish. I like the combination because it keeps within this medium-bodied frame, but it has really nice density of fruit.”

Domaine René Cacheux et Fils 2013
France – Burgundy – Vosne Romanée – 1er Cru Les Suchots – Pinot Noir – Red
94 Points
Lovely palate. I must confess after tasting a lot of other categories, getting to this reminds me why I love Burgundy. Very silky, very delicate. It is a youthful wine but there is still a sexiness here. I love the fine spiciness of white pepper, clove, ginger. With ripe wild berries..”

Château de la Ragotière – Vallet 2012
France – Loire Valley – Muscadet Sevre et Maine – Muscadet – White
89 Points
here is fine extract and well-integrated acidity. So really mouth-watering and fresh. Towards the finish the fruit is emerging a bit more, with that barely ripe pear and white peach. With some lemony and lime notes.”