Unusual 2012 Weather Creating Bordeaux “Winemaker’s Vintage”

In both Great Britain and the continent it has been a topsy-turvy year in terms of weather. While we may be grumbling that it’s only just as the kids are about to go back to school that the weather seems to have turned nice, Bordeaux winemakers have had more than their share of weather-related anxiety this year.

The April rains that are normal for the Bordeaux region continued into May and June. This caused cold temperatures and inconsistent flowering, while the dampness caused some problems with mildew. Many winemakers were reported to be treating their vines with protective sprays (usually sulphur-based) many times over thePouring Red Wine growing season.

Disaster threatened, but then salvation of sorts came in the form of a warm end of July which turned into a hot August. But this proved a little too hot for some – temperatures reached a searing 40 degrees on four days that month which meant that some vineyard’s grapes shut down entirely while others were scorched by the sun.

These challenging climatic conditions have resulted in the harvest being several weeks behind compared to earlier years, and estimations that it will also be the smallest for over a decade.

Consequently Bordeaux 2012 likely to be called a ‘winemaker’s vintage’. This delightful term was coined to describe wine produced during a difficult year when the weather causes inconsistencies across the vineyards.

It remains to be seen how these ‘interesting times’ for Bordeaux will be assessed by investors, wine tasting experts and consumers…


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