Friday, 3 May 2013

A Typical Chinon Vineyard

We photographed this scene one evening a few weeks ago near Chinon. This is a typical vineyard in early spring, with vines pruned to a single leader. No sign of leaves yet -- it was too early and the buds are tight little buttons, just as they should be in late March. The winemaker has very sensibly let the grass grow under the vines rather than apply a herbicide. The grass absorbs excess moisture and creates a microclimate at low level which benefits the vines. It also means that you can work amongst the vines without churning up the wet winter soil and risking the vine roots becoming exposed due to erosion.

Because this is Chinon, the grapes will almost certainly be Cabernet Franc. The winemaker's house is in the background, tucked into the limestone ridge, whilst the grapes are planted on the richer and sandier lower slopes. There will undoubtedly be a cave near the house, an old limestone mine dug into the hillside, that now serves as a cellar. The farm buildings are all local limestone, and the roofs are slate.

4 comments:

  1. Would not like the job of pruning the hectares of vines there are. Must play havoc with your back, great to see when complete though.

    The recent cold weather has done some damage See here. http://www.lanouvellerepublique.fr/Indre-et-Loire/communes/Chinon/n/Contenus/Articles/2013/05/02/Le-gel-de-printemps-cet-ennemi-de-la-vigne-1433659

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  2. C&E: Thanks for the link to the article. I've had contact in the past with a couple of the winegrowers interviewed, so I know where they are talking about. Chinon seems to have largely escaped, but I feel sorry for the Pibaleau's at Azay. We haven't had anything like a frost down here.

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  3. According to reports, Montlouis has had damage from April frost. I wonder about Vouvray. No signs of frost damage in this part of Touraine, as far as I know.

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  4. Ken: Don't know about Vouvray. We'll find out on Monday.

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