Bordeaux on course for a “great vintage” after ideal growing conditions

Bordeaux on course for a “great vintage” after ideal growing conditions

The 2016 Bordeaux harvest has been described as “a great vintage in the making” by the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB).

Several factors conspired to create the ideal growing conditions, including uniform flowering, a dry sunny summer, evenly occurring veraison and the Indian summer which led to optimal ripeness in each plot and grape variety.

And the CIVB has estimated that this year’s harvest should amount to over 5.5m hectoliters, up on last year’s 5.3m, and 5.27m in 2014.

But the growing season  wasn’t without its difficulties. In the first six months of the year the region experienced 722mm of rain, 62% more than usual, and 18% less sunshine than average.

In April, temperatures were close to normal, and rainfall was 25% lower than the 30-year average, while May saw several storms hit the region, particularly in the last ten days of the month. Vine leaves and branches of some vineyards were damaged, particularly those  along the Dordogne River. The Graves de Vayres AOC, for example, suffered damage of between 20 – 60%.

The following month there was little sun, and more rain than average.   However, the weather picked up in the next three months, with July, August and September receiving 53% less rainfall than on average, and 17% more sunshine that usual. In addition the daytime temperature in these three months was between half to two degrees Celsius higher than normal.

August was dry, warm and sunny, with only two days of rain instead of the usual seven. Veraison was late, starting on August 10th, while in September the first 13 days of the moth were in keeping with August – warm, dry and sunny. After weeks of drought, rain finally fell on September 13th with 30 – 60 mm of rain falling.

Harvest for the dry whites, described as “aromatic and lively”, started on September 5th with the Sauvignon grapes and continued with the Muscadelle and Semillon varieties.

The red wine harvest is just drawing to a close, and wine producers are celebrating the “outstanding quality” of the grapes, with “intense aromas and colour, and a high concentration of anthocyanins.”

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