2009: Looks to have lived up to the reputation that vintages ending in a 9 are a success – notably 1989, 1959 and 1949 and 1919 was pretty good, too.
The weather much much of September and October was ideal with September particularly fine and warm - often around 25-27˚ C with low humidity. October was a little more unsettled with some rain but nothing serious, so the vignerons were able to wait and pick their grapes when in perfect condition. As in 2008 the weather broke in late October causing problems for sweet wine makers in Anjou.
There remains a bit of a question mark over some of the dry whites – in Sancerre some grapes were picked at around 15.5˚. However, most I tasted during the recent Salon des Vins de Loire were well balanced. Many Muscadets will be richer than usual and may well be a better match with fish than with the traditional oysters and other shellfish.
Rainfall was lower, particularly in August which was unseasonably cold. It was rare for daytime temperatures to get much above 20˚C and rare to be able to eat dinner outside. In a normal August it is customary to eat outside every evening.
Wines from 2008, especially the reds, have more more structure and body than 2007. The best reds should have a good potential to age and there are some very good dry whites. As the weather broke towards the end of October, there are some charming, light sweet wines.
2007 is a good to very good year for dry whites with very clean flavours, although often with high acidity and quite austere. This makes them ones for amateurs of Loire wines, while others may find them just too austere. Reds are generally light and can be charming, if the winemaker chose to concentrate on the fruit rather than trying a make bigger, more structured wines,
White wines generally have a lower acidity than normal but have tremendously ripe fruit and attractive floral characteristics. With time the balance in some of the whites, especially the Sauvignons, has become more apparently as the initial opulence has receded a little.
Some very good and opulent sweet wines likely to have a great potential to age.
The top reds have aged wonderfully well – very classic Loire – and the best should continue to last for a number of years more.
1992: Very big vintage after the devastating frost of the previous year – a combination of nature having had a year off and many producers pruned long. Lot of dilute wines and most now well past their best
1991: The year was defined by the severe frost of 21st/22nd April, which did enormous damage across western France. Overall the Loire made a third of normal. The vines started very early and so were particularly affected by the April frost. Apart from this reasonable weather for much of the year, although May was cold. Rarely seen now.
1976: Very hot, dry summer with some rain in mid-September. Age worthy wines if a bit baked. Some reds have lasted – even amazingly a few years back the 1976 Gamay primeur from Henry Marionnet.
1893: One of the earliest vintages ever. Great reds and sweet whites, some still drinkable.