Information & scores : 2009 Loire Valley

  • Indifferent 17/20

Vintage description 2009 Loire Valley

2009 was a very good vintage for the Loire region generally. A selective approach is needed when choosing dry whites, with Sauvignon in particular: a particularly hot summer triggered high alcohol content and low acidity for some of the wines. The year was characterised by water stress and heat, and come August was being compared to 2003 or even 2005. At the end of September, the wind brought a little coolness, raising the sugar levels, and rainfall brought temperatures down a little. Overall, this is a good vintage with well-defined acidity.

The Muscadet vineyard coped very well: these wines should not be overlooked. They boast great tautness and are remarkable in this vintage, the best of which can be aged for over ten years. They are consistent and feature acidity levels comparable with those of 1989.

In Anjou, dry Chenin whites took awhile to reach maturity, and levels are low: this is the year of the demi-sec and sweet wine.

In Saumur-Champigny, the red wines are of very good quality, as is the case in Bourgueil (where wines show the most consistency) and Chinon, where the wines boast great ageing potential. Not dissimilarly to 1990, there is volume and wonderful juiciness here, with comfortable levels of maturity.

In the Sancerre region, reds also boast excellent levels, with extremely ripe Pinot Noir that will easily keep for a decade. In contrast, the Sauvignons were very successful on the major terroirs, and less so on less well-known terroirs.

In Vouvray, the year 2009 featured heatwaves in August and can be ranked somewhere between 2003 and 2005 - although luckily without as much excess as 2003. Vines suffered in the end-of-summer heat and were threatened by water stress that can slam the brakes down on maturity. Thankfully, the month of September was better balanced. For dry wine, the first Chenin harvests sometimes had to be carried out earlier as passerillage and botrytis often occurred. The sweet wines did well with a less heavy balance than that seen in 2003, although perhaps not quite as successful as 2005. Yet 2009 clearly remained a wonderful vintage for sweet wines.