June's flowering was late.
July was hot and pushed the vintage forward.
August was cold and wet and slowed everything down.
September was rainy and sunny, warm and cool. It made everyone crazy.
Catherine shook her head, "There are too many bunches on the vines. But still, the fruit is really good."
And in fact, the fruit was delicious.
The Clos Roche Blance style of working the vines includes severe pruninig in the spring. There is no green harvesting unless they feel the vintage demands it. There is little dogma at this winery. And the 2006 vintage was a strange one. Being intuitive and avoiding dogma, as winemaker Didier is, can only be a plus.
CRB is not looking for California-style intensity of fruit, fruit, fruit. Their wines are ones of expression. Or, as T.S. Eliot wrote in Burnt Norton, "There would be no dance, and there is only the dance."
And that is the dance of terroir. And, I am sorry for playing the 'terroir' card, but that's the way it is.
The 2006 from CRB will deliver plenty of expression. The grapes were indeed delicious. In between the vine rows, grew mushrooms that looked like umbrellas (and Catherine made an excellent moussseline mushroom omelette). But still, there was lots of rot to cut away on those bunches of grapes. And on the tight- berried gamay, I had to dig deep, as a dentist looking for rot in gums. I know I dropped lots of fruit thinking---that rot ain't getting into my gamay, next to the cot, my favorite of the CRB wines.
The vintage will be fascinating, complex and surprising, when in the hands of winemakers like Didier and grape snippers like me! But for wines that are made from machine harvested grapes like most of the Loire wines? Ouch.