A Gallic Vintage Challenge

An example of “millerandange”…uneven fruit set caused by adverse growing conditions, at Le Clos d’Entre les Murs d’Antoine Cristal in Saumur-Champigny, Loire Valley, France, where I visited in June. Photo courtesy of Cathy Henton of le tasting room in the Loire Valley. www.letastingroom.com


Here is the link to my original post about this vineyard.


If I were to say that the 2012 vintage in parts of France is going to be a challenge, that is an understatement. Spending a few weeks in June in the UK and France, I saw first hand the nasty weather that enveloped the region from central France to the British Isles.

Problems for the Loire, Champagne and Burgundy began at the beginning of the growing season with frost in April in Champagne and has continued throughout these areas with excessive rain and 3 subsequent hail storms in Burgundy over the summer that pummeled many vineyards. Crops in all three areas will be substantially lower…as much as 1/3 – 1/2 of normal.

The cool, wet conditions increase the likelihood of mildew and grape rot. And veraison, when the red grapes begin to change their color from green to red, is very late and spotty in the Loire at this writing.

In Champagne, the vintage is looking to be “the worst in decades”. For the best winemakers in any of these regions, the task to produce some excellent wines is not insurmountable, but will be very challenging and with small yields.

By the time I arrive in Burgundy in the third week of October, the harvest should be over, depending on the weather into September and early October. But in a year of uncertainty, nothing can be counted upon.

Until next time, à votre santé!


You Might Also Like