As the Bordeaux harvest begins, here is a detailed report on the weather so far this year and its impact on the vines.
It’s fair to say that my earlier updates on the 2013 growing season in Bordeaux have been less than enthusiastic. Running late in May, The flowering and Soggy Vinexpo, sodden vines in June, Lafite’s weeping willows in July and then, in August, the Hail in Bordeaux series of posts hardly paint a rosy picture.
Yet even at this stage at the end of September, this roller coaster vintage is still too early to call. The weather in October for the red harvest (Bordeaux is 88% red) will be crucial. Even before then, storms are forecast for this weekend, after a week of sunshine.
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TEN THINGS WE DO KNOW
1. 2013 is an exceptionally late harvest. (Or should be.)
2. 2013 will be a small crop in Bordeaux overall.
3. A cold first half of the year held up growth in the vineyard.
4. An unusually cold, wet May and downpours in June led to late, uneven flowering.
5. July was hot and dry, August sunny, September up and down. October is key.
6. An August hailstorm hit more than 10,000 hectares – about 10% of the Bordeaux vineyard – but none of the top châteaux.
7. Quality and yields will be extremely variable – the contrast is evident in the vineyards.
8. The dry white harvest has started well, while prospects for sweet whites are ‘promising’.
9. The red harvest is likely to be a race against time (and rot) as the autumn weather draws in.
10. The advantage lies with those who have the resources and equipment to be highly selective. Keep reading