Better vintage prospects for South West France5th September, 2012 by Rupert Millar
In contrast to much of France, pre-harvest reports from the South West point to what could be a “very good vintage”.
With many regions in France reporting severe problems with hail, frost and disease, the growers in the co-operative Producteurs Plaimont appear to have got off relatively lightly.
Hailstorms in spring destroyed around 5% of the vines across Saint Mont, Madiran and Pacherenc du Vil-Bilh but frost damage in the region has been minimal and mildew largely avoided.
The year has apparently followed an “ideal” course, with a cool winter and spring, followed by rain and then hot days and cool nights throughout July.
This has led to a good véraison (something producers in Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux appear to have struggled with) but smaller than average berry size in Côtes de Gascogne, Saint Mont and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh will apparently lower yields by 10% – 15%.
The Tannat too has required some rigorous green harvesting but the co-op’s managing director, Olivier Bourdet-Pees, has said that if the current good weather continues throughout September, “it will be a very good vintage”.