Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

NOV-DEC 2018

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Noteworthy news from the wine world 2018 Loire Harvest: An Early Harvest with Favorable Quality At the start of the 2018 harvest season, the Loire Valley Wines Council announced that the total volume of the 2018 vintage is expected to exceed last year's production. Ideal weather conditions have put a smile back on the faces of Loire winegrowers. e 2018 harvest started two weeks earlier this year, similar to 2011 and 2017. e early maturity of the 2018 vintage, acquired in spring, was preserved thanks to this year's historically fine summer. e amount of sunshine in July and August was indeed remarkable, with 600 to 625 hours of sunlight, which is as much as 30-percent higher than normal in some areas. Unlike 2017, the vines were spared from hail and frost. e rainy month of June, as everywhere else in France, led to mildew attacks. Overall, the disease was controlled by the know-how and vigilance of winegrowers, even if some farms suffered significant crop losses. Winegrowers follow the grapes' evolution and taste them regularly to determine the optimal harvest date, according to wine profiles required for their different markets. Some Loire Valley winegrowers also employ high-tech tools, including Prévimat, a web interface developed by the Loire Valley Wines Board to predict the evolution of Cabernet Franc grape maturity up to 14 days. e five distinct wine-growing regions dotting the Loire's banks feature no less than 4,000 wineries, 170,000 acres of vineyards and 61 appellations of origin, thus making the Loire Valley the third largest French winemaking region. Producing 380 million bottles per year - be they red, rosé or white; still or sparkling; dry or semi-dry, supple or sweet - the Loire Valley is France's leading producer of white wines and ranks second for rosés. e region as a whole exports 68 million bottles every year to 157 markets. Napa's 2018 harvest builds balance at a steady pace According to the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, 2018 has been an exciting year so far. In February, rain was abundant, and when the skies cleared, endless days of sunshine followed. Then tiny buds emerged from the dormant vines, marking the beginning of the 2018 growing season. Looking across the valley floor in the early spring, it was a sea of bright, strong growth. In the spring, vines flowered uniformly, which paved the way for even cluster development. "A very even bloom was followed by a rapid veraison this year, and to date, our ripening period has been void of extreme heat, which will allow for some extended hang time and great phenolic maturity in the fruit," said Paul Goldberg, director of operations at Bettinelli Vineyards and president of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers. 2018's first picks occurred mid-August, about a week or so later than 2017. ese were primarily for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for sparkling wine. Other white varieties, and those for still wines, began coming off the vines in late August. THE COR K BOAR D Compiled by Chloe Geller Dawn greets an early-morning picking crew in the Napa Valley. Photo by Jason Tinacci. 56 slmag.net

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