2019’s wines are set to be concentrated and well-structured with a good balance of acidity. They are the epitome of Loire style, with the freshness, delicious scents and mouthwatering flavours today’s market demands. The year’s weather conditions have bordered on the extreme, with both frost and drought affecting yields. These have been lower than producers had hoped: 28% lower than 2018 and 9% down on the 5-year average, although results differ wildly, not just from grower to grower but from one parcel of vines to the next. September’s rainfall was a godsend and had a very positive effect, bringing some pleasant surprises particularly among the Sauvignons, Chenins and Cabernet Francs.
Whites show good potential
Early Sauvignons picked in the first week of September show excellent balance on the palate, and a range of fresh flavours including box and blackcurrant buds. When blended with later Sauvignon harvests whose top notes include tropical fruit, their flavour profiles will become more complex.
Melon de Bourgogne juices are concentrated and well-structured, with excellent balance: tangy fresh fruit and apricots, and an occasional touch of citrus-zest bitterness.
Chenins are crisp and aromatic with a good zing of acidity. September’s rainfall was a huge boon, improving both quality and yield.
Anthocyanin content – and therefore colour potential – in Grolleaus and Cabernet Francs is high, so expect fuchsia and violet hues. Juices are fruity and full of flavour (sour cherry deserves a mention), heralding some very promising wines indeed.
A good year for reds
Across the region, reds show a typical ‘Loire Valley’ style – supple, light and smooth with crisp scents of fresh fruit, and are a perfect complement to 2018’s rather more age-worthy wines.
In Loir-et-Cher, Gamay and Cabernet Franc wines are beautifully concentrated, their silky tannins the perfect backdrop for the grapes’ traditional spicy flavours.