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    16 of Pascaline's Top Producer Picks in the Loire Valley

    Master sommelier and Loire valley native, Pascaline Lepeltier, has been working with key Loire producers over the past months in preparation for the October 2017 Loire Wine Study Trip.

    Take a look at her notes on this carefully curated list of both iconic and rising star estates/producers in the Loire Valley

    An interesting read to get you re-acquainted with some of the more historically famed estates as well as introduce you to some of the new generation vintners who are pushing boundaries and defining the region’s vinous future…


    Wine and Food of the Loire Valley

    Much has been written about the beautiful Loire Valley, well known as “the garden of France.” The wine region follows the meandering Loire River more than 600 miles through the gently rolling hills of a picturesque countryside. There is an abundance of vines and food crops in this fertile stretch of France. The Loire produces the largest amount of white wines of any French region, and it is the world’s largest mushroom producer. As the old adage says, “If it grows together, it goes together,” and this is perhaps nowhere as evident as it is in the Loire Valley.


    Loire Valley Vintage Charts & Ratings

    Back to French Vintage Chart

    The vintage chart and harvest reports provided by the Wine Scholar Guild gives you the ranking for every French wine region and vintage from 2000 to today.

    Andrew Jefford, award-winning wine journalist for Decanter Magazine and author of twelve books on wine including The New France has compiled information and written the vintage charts starting with the 2013 vintage. He is also updating information for the vintages prior to 2013.

    Last updated: April 25th 2019

    Loire dry whites & reds

    Vintage Quality Drink Comments
    2017 Drink/Cellar After a difficult season in 2016, most Loire growers were happy with the quality of this remarkably early vintage, though quantities remain below average. As in so many French regions, some parts of the Loire were badly hit by April frosts: Muscadet was 35-40% below normal; Savennières was catastrophically affected; Saumur-Champigny saw a reduction of 30% after frost over four nights (26-29 April); while Cheverny, Menetou-Salon, Coteaux du Giennois and some parts of Pouilly-Fumé were badly hit among the Sauvignon-producing zones. After the frost traumas, though, the summer was near faultless, and the harvest took place from the end of August around two weeks in advance of the normal date. The wines are intense, pungent and vivacious, and the best are expected to age well; the sweet wines are as successful as the dry wines this year. Chinon and Bourgueil have produced noteworthy reds.
    2016 Drink/Cellar The 2016 vintage was a difficult one in many parts of the Loire valley.  The culprits were frosts on the nights of April 26th and 27th, followed by heavy rains in May and June which led to catastrophic outbreaks of mildew; drought and high temperatures in July and August also had a negative effect.  Muscadet was very badly hit, with a third of the zone unpicked and the smallest crop since 1949; other areas affected include Montlouis, Chinon, Bourgeuil and St Nicolas de Bourgeuil, Saumur-Champigny, Menetou-Salon, Pouilly-Fumé (but not Sancerre), Quincy and Reuilly.  Fine September weather towards the end of the season, though, helped create fresh and vibrant wines with ample classicism from those grapes which survived the early season depradations and the summer heat.
    2015 Drink/Cellar After the warmest winter in a century, late February and March were cool, so flowering came normally in early April, with more cool weather at the end of April and early May.  After that, summer was sunny and warm with a very hot, early July.  The growers were happy to see some mid-August rain, and fine, warm weather then returned for a leisurely September harvest.  This is a great vintage across the board in the Loire, for dry wines, for red wines (which are riper than in 2014), and for sweet wines too (with vivid, fresh acidity as well as generous sugars).  The best wines will make superb cellar prospects.
    2014 Drink After a warm end to winter and a very dry March, bud break came early at the beginning of April.  There was good weather for successful flowering, too, but apart from that, summer was cool and, between mid-July and mid-August, very wet.  The weather finally changed at the end of August, and September was record-breakingly dry, sunny and windy, meaning that with maturity came concentration.  Harvesting began in mid-September and gave an excellent crop of dry white and red wines with outstanding Muscadet and Sancerre and very good Anjou-Villages and Chinon.  There was rain in early October which cut the crop of sweet wines, but those who waited for fine weather at the end of October made small quantities of moelleux and liquoreux, the latter with over 20˚ of potential alcohol.
    2013 Drink Late winter and spring saw prolonged cold, meaning that bud break came two weeks late, into mid-April (with Saumur-Champigny suffering a late April frost). Late spring was barely better, with delayed flowering, sometimes as late as early July, accompanied by coulure (shatter) and millerandage (shot berries).  Vouvray was hit by a severe hail storm on June 17th which destroyed two-thirds of its crop.  July and August, by contrast, were hot and sunny, while September was generally benign, although more humid.  The October harvest (late September in Muscadet) was the latest in two decades.  Fair to good results were achieved by those white-wine producers who worked hard in the vineyards and sorted their crop, but it was a less exciting year for reds, and there were few late-harvest wines.
    2012 Drink Troubled spring across region, cool & rainy, reducing yields severely, (1.9 million hl, well below 5-year average & 34% less than ’09). Good September weather rescued early-ripening varieties, sites.  Rain & cold returned in October. Excellent Muscadet albeit drastically reduced crop: intensity, acid backbone; best will keep. Anjou-Saumur, Touraine Chenins picked in good conditions. Cabernets are supple, fruity & forward if rather light.
    2011 Drink Promising start to season, less favorable later. Very early start to season, then cooler in mid-summer. Good Muscadet, successful Anjou Chenins secs.  Early harvest in Centre, mostly picked by mid-September. Ripe Sauvignons often with lower acidities for early drinking. At best, mature Cabernets harvested as early as beginning of September in Chinon, Bourgueil; less maturity in poor locales.
    2010 Drink Regular conditions. Season with contrasting hot & cool periods, irregular flowering & ripening by parcel. Muscadet with above average concentration & structure. Cabernet Franc of sound ripeness if picked late. Many Sauvignons have intensity, aromatic complexity. A year combining quality & above average quantity.
    2009 Drink Dry from June through warm September. Very successful Muscadet, ripe Chenins in Anjou, Touraine.  Hailstorms cut crop in Menetou-Salon, Sancerre. Sauvignons attained high sugars, sound acidity from cool September nights in Centre; last to be picked lack acidity. Fully mature Cabernet Franc, generous Chinon & other Touraine reds with flattering fruit qualities. Prolific vintage of 2.9 million hl.
    2008 Drink Cold summer, favorable September & October. Best wines harvested later & benefitted from long maturation. Concentrated whites will keep well. Fruity, fresh reds; weaker examples are not ripe.  Reduced overall volume, decimated crop in Nantais (1/2 of 2009) due to frost.
    2007 Drink Difficult flowering, wet & cold summer, notably stormy August with low temperatures. Mildew a problem. Best whites are expressive, possess pointed acidity; some lack maturity. Best in Muscadet, Anjou. Many under-ripe, herbaceous reds; successes were harvested later.
    2006 Drink Good summer weather, rain in mid/late September complicated picking across region.best are ripe, full-bodied. Results hinged on skill & timing of vigneron, particularly picking dates.Muscadet suffered. Most Sauvignon in Centre brought in before storms;best are ripe, full-bodied. Results hinged on skill & timing of vigneron, particularly picking dates.
    2005 Drink Early harvest in benign conditions, consistently ripe & balanced wines. Concentrated whites with backbone, often very full-bodied. Reds even better, for many best of decade: fully mature, atypically dense, age-worthy.
    2004 Past peak Favorable September, generous yields. Typical light- to medium-weight wines, sound maturities; most to drink early. Some examples were weak, green. Centre saw late harvesting extending into October producing etched Sauvignons with herbaceous notes.
    2003 Drink/Past peak Earliest harvest since 1893 (e.g., starting 19 August in Nantais & Centre). Variable season, extremely hot August, grapes “burnt” by sun. Old vines fare better. Very high levels of maturity likened to 1959 or 1947. Reduced volumes. Rich Muscadet & Chenins. Full, ripe Sauvignon with unusually high alcohol lacked typicity. Many excellent reds: fruity, supple, fine tannins. Nearly all to drink young.
    2002 Drink Below normal harvest volume, uniform quality. Rainy August, warm & dry September/October. Muscadet endowed with rich fruit. Successful Chenins secs in Anjou-Saumur, Touraine. Appealing Chinon, Saumur-Champigny; some reds insufficiently ripe. Sauvignons in Centre possessed generous, ripe fruit.
    2001 Past peak Excellent flowering, high temperatures in summer. Muscadet performed well. In Anjou-Saumur, rich Chenins. High rainfall in Touraine, earlier harvest; wines reflect maturity  similar to 2000. Solid reds. Mixed results for Sauvignons in Centre where rain & rot disrupted maturation.
    2000 Past peak Cool, wet July, hot June & August. Grapes picked before mid-October rains made successful wines. Rich, full-bodied Muscadet. Light Chenins in Anjou-Saumur & Touraine; Savennières above average. Ripe, balanced Sauvignons in Centre benefitted from favorable September. Soft, forward reds.

     Loire Sweet whites (moelleux) 

    *2013 onwards, sweet wines are integrated to the main comment

    Vintage Quality Drink Comments
    2012 Pending Limited botrytis, minuscule yields of Bonnezeaux, Chaume, Quarts de Chaume.
    2011 Drink/Cellar top wines A year favoring Chenin with attractive moelleux in Coteaux du Layon.
    2010 Drink/Cellar top wines Anjou was able to produce good sweet wines in the Layon appellations. Touraine was less successful.
    2009 Drink/Cellar top wines Many remarkable wines in both Anjou & Touraine, among them Coteaux du Layon &  Vouvray. A vintage to challenge 2005 as the best of the decade for moelleux.
    2008 Drink/Cellar top wines Very limited output of sweet wines. Some finely calibrated, rather light, elegant successes.
    2007 Drink/Cellar top wines Extremely small production of moelleux with some fine results among the Anjou Chenins.
    2006 Drink Below average wines with a handful of lighter, elegant, moderately sweet successes.
    2005 Drink/Cellar top wines A year in which the grapes experienced noble rot or desiccation through passerillage. Uniform quality. Wines with exquisite equilibrium in a diversity of styles. A great vintage, arguably best of the decade.
    2004 Drink/Past peak Light wines, absence of sweetness… with few exceptions.
    2003 Drink/Cellar top wines Opulence, density & sweetness. A minority miss sufficient backbone to offset richness. Cellar selectively after evaluating individually.
    2002 Drink/Cellar top wines Sweet wines resulted from desiccation of grapes on vine (passerillage). Wines possess real density with high sugar levels complemented by well-matched acidity.
    2001 Drink top wines Anjou Chenins were attractively sweet and stand above Touraine where Vouvray & Montlouis lack substance.
    2000 Drink top wines Simple, straightforward & delicately sweet wines without the concentration & dimension of finest years.


    Quality Poor Poor
    Fair Fair
    Good Good
    Excellent Excellent
    Chart Legend

    Methodology: This report has been compiled utilizing multiple authoritative sources including regional trade associations, experts in each region, wine producers, academic studies, leading journalists, and the editor’s personal notes.
    Acknowledgements: E. Gabay MW (Provence); Hugel family (Alsace); D. Markham (Bordeaux); K. McAuliffe (Rhône); M. Stubbs MW (Languedoc-Roussillon).
    Editor’s comment: This chart is intended to serve as a reliable guide for professionals, educators and collectors. Judgments as to the quality, longevity and current maturity of a given vintage are by definition simplified assessments describing the average profile of the year. There will always be individual wines which surpass, or fail to reach, the overall standard, or which may have a shorter or longer life than their peers. Last, these evaluations are not fixed and permanent; rather, they will be revised as needed to reflect the wines as they age in bottle.


    Back to French Vintage Chart


    • Piedmont

      May 17 - May 22, 2020
    • Bourgogne

      May 24 - May 29, 2020
    • Bordeaux

      Jun 16 - Jun 21, 2019


    • Loire

      Jun 23 - Jun 28, 2019


    • Alsace

      Jun 07 - Jun 12, 2020
    • Champagne

      Jun 23 - Jun 27, 2020
    • Languedoc-Roussillon

      Oct 25 - Oct 30, 2020
    • Rhône

      Oct 18 - Oct 23, 2020


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