The closest link between the people that make wine and the people that drink it
Midsummer? It hasn’t been much of a summer so far, but there are signs of improvement. Winter was long and late, even if not especially cold. Spring however never really got under way – a modest April and then an appalling month of May with heavy flooding at the beginning of the month and a little flurry of snow as late as Saturday 25th.
The cool damp conditions actually gave some beautiful flower displays in our garden but though the wisteria, lilac and apple blossoms all flourished for longer than usual, there wasn’t enough heat to extract the perfume from the blooms, or indeed to allow the bees to fly and pollenate the fruit trees.
The vignerons became more and more demoralised – after three short crops, surely not another one! There had been a good ‘sortie’ – plenty of embryo bunches – but these were beginning to abort in the cold wet weather even before the flowering. June was somewhat better than May though still neither properly dry nor hot, and eventually the flowering got under way in the Côte de Beaune and Mâconnais from around June 22nd, forty days later than 2007 or 2011. It passed off pretty well, though vignerons in the Côte de Nuits, where flowering continued through the first week of July in cooler, stormier weather, were less hopeful. So we can expect the harvest to begin in the earlier locations around the end of September, while many in the Côte de Nuits are thinking about the second week of October.
The good news is that the forecast for July is looking pretty good – mostly sunshine yet without intense heat.
The other talking point is the mandatory requirement to spray against the ciccadelles (leafhoppers) which can spread the flavescence dorée virus, which some fear could develop into a 21st century phylloxera.. Three sprays are compulsory in the Saône-et-Loire department, where the disease has been discovered, and one in the Côte d’Or which has not yet been reached, with risk of a prison sentence if you don’t comply. The necessary treatment is highly toxic to all small insects, so it will kill off the natural predators to the even smaller ones such as red spider mite. Furthermore, the organic version, Pyrévert, is even more toxic than the synthetic chemical treatment and smells appalling to boot. Schoolchildren in the Mâconnais have been kept out of playgrounds and feeling is running high.