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French Wines: The worst production since 1970

French wines

France is noted for luxury and included in this array are its wines. The country produces approximately 16 percent of the world’s wines and employs over 142,000 people in the wine-growing sector alone.

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Reuters research determined that the French wine industry production is likely to drop by approximately 30 percent this year, compared to the previous year, making 2021 as the worst year since 1970 and likely to be the worst year on record.

The causes of this bad news included an April frost, Covid 19 chaos, President Trump’s trade war targeting French wines, summer flooding combined with high temperatures leading to the formation of fungus on the vines that destroyed much of the crop.

Wine lovers should acquire their French wines NOW in preparation for the holiday season and try to avoid increased prices at the cash register.

2020 Domaine Girard, Sancerre, Les Garennes. Sauvignon Blanc

Sancerre is located at the eastern edge of Loire Valley’s main vineyard area and closer to the Cote d’Or in Burgundy than to the Loire’s other important wine districts of Anjou and Touraine. The viticultural area covers 15-milles of rolling hills on the west bank of the Loire with 7000 acres of vines devoted to producing the appellation’s wines.

Soil types are divided into three sections: chalk, limestone-gravel, and silex (flint). Flint is often credited for the distinctive smoky pierre a fusil (gunflint) aroma and the reason for the Sauvignon pseudonym Blanc Fume.

Sancerre is noted for its crisp, aromatic white wines made from Sauvignon Blanc. A classic Sancerre is white, bracingly acidic with notes of gooseberries, grass, nettles and stony minerality. Phylloxera wiped out vast vineyards in the mid-19th century destroying tracks of mostly red wine varieties such as Gamay and Pinot Noir. The vineyards were replanted in Sauvignon Blanc and the area received AOC status in 1936.

The 2020 Domaine Girard Sancerre. Notes. 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc. Domaine Fernand Girard is directed by Alain Girard, following in the footsteps of generations of winemakers in the village of Chaudoux, located a few miles northwest of Sancerre and north of Cavignol. The vineyard covers 14 hectares and Girard sells some cuvees to negociants and personally bottles a portion of the total production under his family name. The La Garenne cuvee originated in a 2.5-hectare vineyard on a steep east-facing slope with very rocky limestone soil. The chalky soil enhances the characteristic flinty, mineral and green notes of Sauvignon Blanc.

The estate uses modern technology that includes a pneumatic press, stainless steel vats, a temperature control system during fermentation and air-conditioned space for aging in vats and stocking bottles. Although the technology is 21st century, traditional methods are used in the vineyard where herbicides and treatments are used sparingly, and commercial yeasts are not introduced to induce fermentation or add flavors. The outcome is a Sancerre that presents pleasant aromas, along with fresh acidity with low astringency.

Alain GirardPhoto by Noah Oldham

The eye is rewarded with pale yellow gold and the nose detects spice, lemon peel, fresh green grass, green apples, bits of lemon and flint. Pairs well with flat white fish in a caper sauce but stands alone with strength and dignity.

Read Part One here: Learning about the wines of the Loire Valley on a NYC Sunday

© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.

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About the author

Dr. Elinor Garely - special to eTN and editor in chief, wines.travel

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1 Comment

  • Another “it’s Trump’s fault.”
    The US tariffs were a response to the EU’s unfair subsidy to Airbus, as noted by the WTO. The tariffs were meant to bring some equity to US-EU trade. It would be helpful to tell the whole story and get over blaming Trump.