An early read-out on where we might expect good things to come … and where we, and you, might be advised to stock up NOW. Price rises are inevitable I’m afraid, but some will be higher than others.
At our own Château La Clarière we have just got in the Sauvignon Gris, so all our white is now cool fermenting, sloooowly in new barrels, mostly. The merlots need a week or so but are really sweet and black promising a big fat, juicy vintage. Just as long as we don’t get a killer hailstorm. They are all around us!
Our red grapes are very high alcohol almost no malic and pH low, so we need to wait. We think we will harvest week of the12th or earlier if it does not rain. Another BIG year … not perhaps the ‘finest’ of years but wines will certainly be big and impressive.
In the Midi Mark says …
“Spluttering start here. Picking first lot of Roussanne tomorrow so filling barrels end of the week. Chardo Thursday through to Monday. La Voûte next week. Reds will follow but still need time. Rain was good, storms for end of week.”
Sarah sends …
“Provence – ‘Pretty solid’ quality looking consistent across the region. Vines did shut down in summer due to heat. Certainly, a warmer year vs. Last year.
Champagne – ‘Bountiful’. The Comité Champagne has authorised the highest year’s production in over a decade at 12,000kg per hectare. All very happy to not have had the disaster of last year. Dry spells after hail helps preserve against disease.
Spain – Rioja 5-10% down, very dry in parts, moisture retention dependent on soil type. Some welcome rain towards harvest pushing start date slightly.
Big players not looking to buy over contracts, indicating probably not the vintage of the century …
Rías Baixas – Volumes down -20% due to dry conditions … price per kilo expected to keep soaring.
Overall feeling seems to be an unusual year, with odd spells of odd weather from hot and dry to hail and rain. Generally, vines have held up better than expected considering the dryness.”
Samuel says …
“Beaujolais – Harvest started early between Aug 20th – 25th for most, very happy with the quality of the grapes but volumes are very low due to the high temperatures and lack of rainfall in the last 90 days. Late June hailstorms also are to blame for the low volumes.
Loire – Some very “thirsty” vineyards and the heatwave has resulted in some burnt fruit but volumes weren’t reduced by hail like some parts of France. Overall, most are very happy with the quality but volume will be missing due to lack of rain. Harvest likely to begin next week.”
Jehan sends …
“Portugal – Quality is going to be very good in the south, where most of our producers are. Lisbon & Setubal have been spared by the fires and grapes are maturing well.
Further north, the Douro and Dao are the regions which are suffering this year with no water and regular temperature above 45 degrees. The Vines have stopped, and maturity of the grapes are difficult.
The winner region could be Vinho Verde for red this year. We could have superb smooth reds around 12 degrees.”
And Leonardo …
“Forecast for Italy is of 10% – 20% below the average, with some varieties anticipating their lifecycle by two weeks. Quality is good to very good. In general, the heat and lack of water had the effect of both lowering yields and keeping vines healthy (not much diseases). This is especially true in hot regions such as Sicily and Puglia.
Tuscany, vines were showing some good green foliage and producers were not too worried, but a protracted lack of water would have made some damage. The rains in the past weeks helped, though some resulted in hail, damaging some vineyards It is still too soon to tell, as we will need to wait and see what happens in the next weeks. Prosecco harvest will start next week. Primitivo is expected to be good, opulent and good structure with harvest under way.”