A few climate figures from Tours illustrate the differences between the two years:
Rainfall: August to November (2005 first)
August: 24 – 40
Sept: 19 – 95
Oct: 45 – 60
Nov: 31 – 59
Average max temperatures: July - October (2005 first)
July: 26.1˚C – 30.4˚C
August: 26.3˚C – 23.2˚C
Sept: 25.8˚C – 24.9˚C
Oct: 23.6˚C – 18.6˚C
Hours of sunshine (2005 first)
Total: 1929 – 1753
From January – October: 1750 – 1592
2006 was the wetter year with crucially well above average rainfall in the September, which provoked the rot. Overall it was cooler although with a very hot July. 2005 wasn't super hot but had a long period of even warm temperatures from July through to October.
Apéritif: Crémant de Loire, Domaine de Nerleux, Régis Neau £10.50
Attractively soft and creamy sparkler from Régis made from 70% Chenin Blanc and 30% Chardonnay and two years sur latte.
2006 Expression de Gneiss, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine, Domaine de l'Ecu, Guy Bossard £10.50
Gneiss is a rock that is similar to schist containing minerals in horizontal bands. Guy Bossard went organic in 1975 and has been biodynamic since 1986. He vinifies his different soil types separately. The 2006 had attractive floral notes and some weight of fruit with long minerla finish. Rather overwhelmed by the creamy risotto, would, I think, have shown better with some prawns or oysters.
2005 Touraine Azay-le-Rideau, Pascal Pibaleau £10.30
This white made from 100% Chenin Blanc is somewhat of a rarity. Only 50 hectares are classified as Touraine Azay-le-Rideau. Annual production is 1800 hl with rosé accounting for 60%. Grolleau has to makes up at least 60% of the blend with Cabernet, Côt and Gamay allowed as the additional grapes. (I mistakenly said last night that more white than rosé was made.) There is no red Azay – instead reds are classified as straight Touraine. Well made floral, dry wine with some richness reflecting the vintage, hint of wool and a typical touch of acidity and bitterness in the finish to make it refreshing. Worked better by itself rather than with the salmon and risotto where the flavours didn't marry with the dish.
2005 Sancerre, Cuvée d'Antan, Domaine Henri Bourgeois
Served with: Scottish girolles risotto with roast organic salmon
This was a particularly successful dish – 'delicious' was a frequent comment.
2006 Les Châtains, Saumur-Champigny, Domaine de Nerleux, Régis Neau
2006 Le Haut de la Butte, Bourgueil, Domaine de la Butte, Jacky Blot
2005 Coteau de Noire, Chinon, Philippe Alliet
Served with: English free range duck breast with potato torte and seasonal vegetables
2006 Chaume, Coteaux du Layon, Château-Pierre-Bise, Claude and Joëlle Papin
Served with Tarte Tatin with Creme Chantilly
Report to be concluded ........