2010 Vintage Receives Preliminary Assessment

With the coming of August, the various regions of France that are renowned for producing fine wine have begun to assess the potential quality of the 2010 vintage.

The record heat in 2010 has some French regions moderately concerned, while others are expecting respectable yields. In general, however, many of the chateaux have already indicated that the excellent weather in July has helped some vineyards confidently predict an average harvest. Conversely, since the extreme heat was mixed with quite a bit of rain, especially right after flowering occurred in May, some vintners have reported seeing a bit of coulure – a condition that occurs when the grapes do not develop as strongly after flowering.

Specifically, Champagne has set yields at 10,500 kilos per hectare, which is up around eight percent on the 2009 vintage, which only yielded 9,700 kilos per hectare. Also of note, June was the hottest on record for nearly 35 years in Bordeaux, followed by temperatures during the first two weeks of July that were the hottest on record since 1921, which has some experts concerned that it could bring about an unnatural level of early maturity. Furthermore, Alsace vintners are currently predicting a ‘classical harvest’ at best, due in part to some difficulty flowering early on, as well as to the threat of mildew from recent heavy rains.

The Burgundy region also experienced a delayed growing season due mostly to rain-induced coulure, but the recent heat in July has reportedly helped the vineyards to make up some of the lost ground. This now has some experts from the region predicting a later than usual harvest with near-average yields for the 2010 vintage, although most foresee around 20 percent less volume than an average harvest as a result of the coulure.


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