More winemakers back Loire project

09 February, 2007

Twenty-one wine producers have joined a project to improve the quality of Loire red wine.

Headed by consultant Sam Harrop MW, Project Cabernet Franc aims to create wines that will be better suited to the UK market without losing their links with terroir.

Set up by marketing board InterLoire, the project has grown from 11 producers in 2006, to 21 producers, all implementing a set of rules covering the entire winemaking process from vineyard management to bottling.

All red AOCs are included in the project this year and a further 69 producers have expressed an interest in joining.

Producers involved cover 12 appellations, including Touraine, Chinon, Bourgueil, Saumur and Anjou.

InterLoire secretary general René-Louis David said the project is about increasing the market share for Cabernet Franc. "The work we are doing will capitalise on the huge potential of our red wines, without compromising their quality and authenticity," he said.

Harrop, who visited the Loire Valley at the end of January to taste the 2006 vintage, said: "Wine can only express the individual site characteristics if the grapes are picked at optimum ripeness and if all winemaking practices incorporated from that point on work to achieve balance in the wine in all respects. This is what we are doing with the red grape varieties in this project."




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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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