Vintage 2023 in the Loire Valley is set to deliver “remarkable wines full of promise”, despite the region having faced unprecedented weather conditions.
The Loire Valley is a story of diversity, from the highest number of organic and biodynamic producers and growers in France, to the number of classic grape varietals, appellations and wine styles.
It may not be France’s largest wine region, but it certainly is the longest. It follows the Loire River (also France’s longest river) and its tributaries from the Atlantic Coast through to the centre of the country.
It’s the third largest winegrowing area of French appellation wines, split up into four distinct vineyard regions – from west to east, Pays Nantais, Anjou-Saumur, Touraine and Centre-Loire.
Production of Loire Valley IGP wines is allowed over 14 departments within the four main regions. Within these regions are more than 50 appellations (also known as AOC or AOP). And in vintage 2023, these appellations faced unprecedented weather ranging from soaking wet to scorching hot, with very different conditions along the whole of the Loire. This led to a varied picture from one appellation to the next in terms of yield and ripening.
But these challenges didn’t stop Loire Valley winegrowers from putting their best foot forward, and according to Lionel Gosseaume, Chairman of InterLoire, we can expect to see a vintage full of remarkable wines, offering a balance between sweetness and acidity, with wonderful fruity notes and moderate alcohol content, typical of the Loire.
He said: “Despite it proving to be a particularly stressful season for winegrowers, the vintage is showing promise in terms of quality for most of the regions. Bearing in mind the disparate weather conditions, the agility and technical prowess demonstrated by the winegrowers during harvesting were particularly vital this year. The care taken in the winemaking process is now a determining factor in ensuring a high-quality vintage to meet our consumers’ new expectations.”
The 2023 vintage for the Loire Valley’s flagship wines promises delicate, complex, and subtle notes and flavours. The first Chardonnays and Pinots Noirs destined for use in the future production of Crémant de Loire are showing a balanced and fruity aromatic profile, with a wonderful freshness.
In the Muscadet region, the scorching heat led some estates to harvest at night to avoid excessively high temperatures, which could have triggered premature fermentation. And yet the sunshine gave the Melon de Bourgogne grapes their distinctive freshness.
For grapes intended for making rosé wines, the heatwave in early September encouraged ripening. Cabernet d’Anjou and Rosé d’Anjou from the Loire region, which are typically in high demand in Australia, will be well-balanced, combining a rounded sweetness with acidity.
We will see lower yields of Cabernet Franc reds due to the challenging weather conditions, but they will offer a fine quality with a wonderful roundness and silky tannins.