One can already read, penned by a few « experts » somewhat surprisingly, that 2013 will not be a good vintage (http://www.20minutes.fr/societe/1208401-20130808-vignobles-endommages-millesime-2013-bon). What can we actually say about this vintage today?
The hail which fell, as dramatic as it was, did not seriously affect, in Bordeaux, the terroirs that produce the wines that serve as very general references for judging the vintages, that is, the classified growths and the wines of Pomerol. Having said that :
- the cold spring has delayed 2013 ;
- the climatic conditions during flowering have caused extensive shatter (flower abortion) of the Merlots ;
- in July, there were 18 consecutive days with temperatures over 30°C, which is exceptional. The month's insolation was 317 hours, that represents a surplus of 62 hours compared to the 30-year average of 255 hours, which is an increase of approximately 25% supplementary insolation. The month was sunny, with temperatures, in Margaux, 2°C above the 30-year average and with normal rainfall (50 mm), concentrated during the last week of the month ;
- August was excellent, with maximum sunshine and cool nights.
Several consequences are therefore possible :
- some excellent white wines, if September is favorable ;
- for red wines, more than the damage caused by the hail, the shatter in the Merlots will greatly diminish the volume produced in Bordeaux.There will be increased proportions of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot in the wines put on the market.As the Cabernet Sauvignon is the late grape to ripen, the quality of the vintage will depend almost entirely on the climatic conditions of the maturation period, that of September and October. There is a similarity here with 1984, when the Merlot also produced very little.More than in previous years, the maturity of the Cabernets will be primordial; following the superb months of July and August, if autumn is fair, great wines are possible on the good terroirs. If the weather is not optimal, the Cabernets will all too likely show characteristics of green pepper and tomato leaves ;
- the rains at the end of July could possibly prove to have been devastating, by favoring mildew, at a moment when viticulturists might have been tempted to lower their guard with regard to this parasite : if mildew causes leaves to fall early, it will directly curtail the maturity of the grapes.
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