The last few vintages have suffered mixed fortunes. Since the outstanding 2010, there aren’t really any to write home about, with the possible exception of 2013 wines in Languedoc, that were generally very successful. 2014 may well mark a return to the great vintages of the past. Winter 2013/2014 was one of the three hottest in France since 1900 (source French Met Office). Average temperatures in December, January and February were 1.8°C higher than normal. Consequently, rainfall was up by 20% due to the mild weather and vineyards were not affected by spring frosts. Hence, budburst occurred early and very consistently, unlike 2013. Flowering also seemed to be along similar lines, although some southern regions have lacked water recently. If summer confirms the trend and brings the right amount of sunshine and suitable temperatures, the grapes could achieve optimum ripeness and 2014 may well become a memorable vintage. Obviously, we will cover the issue again before the ultimate time of reckoning, the grape harvest. The occasional storm or hailstorm over the last few weeks, in Bordeaux and especially in Cognac, is there to remind us that ‘until the grapes are in the winery, anything can happen’. We are eager to see whether this great proverb holds true.
Photo credit: © Jenny Sturm_Fotolia_56805932_S.jpg