2012 Burgundy

So far no great news from Burgundy. Hail and heavy rains during flowering and also reports on mildew.

Everything looked in pretty good shape. Until the most violent storm I have ever witnessed arrived at about 4pm – with 75 mile-per-hour winds and the hardest rain imaginable. Traffic stopped dead everywhere, even on the Autoroute – it was truly fear-inducing. The vineyards are in the middle of the delicate flowering period here, and the winds and heavy rain surely have removed a portion of the potential crop. Heavy hail fell in parts of Meursault and Pommard I keep hearing – maybe elsewhere as well – by tomorrow we should know the extent of the damage. At the very least it will be another low-yield year, following ’10 & ’11 which both produced hardly any wine. Merde!

Yikes. That sounds bad.

It’s ok. Something magical will happen and it’ll be like a cross of 05 and 99 in barrel.


Pretty much sums it up…!

But I’ve heard rumors the old timers compare it to 29 with a touch of 47. Just the good parts.

I’m afraid the Burgundians have learned marketing from the Bordelaise.

Indeed folks were quite concerned with the warm March, followed by cool rainy two months, then a week of sunshine when I was there, and then this big storm right after I left. Mildew pressure is WAY high in all of the parts of France that I visited (Champagne, Alsace, Burgundy, N Rhone, Savoie, Loire), but most people I visited were handling it quite well. The vineyards looked to be in good shape among the conscientious and hard working. The biggest concern in Burgundy was the uneven ripening phases, one starting in March, and then again resumed in June. Then this mega storm happened…
Nonetheless, there is definitely a doom atmosphere in Champagne, where Thomas Calder told me one of his growers actually used the word cataclysmic. Mathieu Baudry of Chinon has been complaining so much about the “outrageous fortune” (shakespeare) that has been this year’s weather that his 9 year old son has coined the phrase, “la douze, c’est la louze!” (twelve, is a loser!)

The story ain’t over till it’s over, but the first few chapters are indeed troublesome.



Coccinelle. I reported the abundance of these pretty creatures at the last harvest, and, in private, was roundly criticised by some wine-makers for ‘unprofessional scare-mongering’ – that was my interpretation anyway! For the last months I’ve been tasting the wines, hyper sensitively looking for pyrazines and largely aiming to convince myself that there was nothing there. I have to say at some excellent addresses this week I have encountered, with 100% certainty, wines that are dead-ringers for the tainted 2004s. It hurts me to say it, but now it is clear to me that all the 2011 reds I buy, will only be the result of tasting post bottling…

Blech. So much for 2011. I won’t even trust post-bottling tastings because the 2004 blight only ramped up to unbearable levels a couple years after bottling. We can hope 2012 ties its own shoelaces like 2010 managed to do but who wants to bet on that? Looks like a green signal to load up more on 2009 and 2010…

Bad weather then miracle September.

Checked the weather report in Burgundy out of curiosity, nothing but torrential rain forecast next 10 days. Ouch.

Meursault 8pm tonight: Grêle chez moi à Meursault en vidéo qui a poursuivi jusqu'à Corton et Savigny les Beaune selon Aurélien Ibañez qui était sur place :-(( | By François | Facebook

There were several hailstorms in the area tonight, usually short (2-3 minutes) but intense.

A couple of tweets:
@cparentgros: After a 1st tour in the vineyards of Pommard & Beaune after the 2 hailstorms: damages =50% (so far…) Vintage 2012 will be rare!
@JeremySeysses: A few minutes of hail at the beginning of a storm in NSG. this eve. It’s going to be all right. Here is a good omen. http://twitter.com/JeremySeysses/status/219146041600114688/photo/1

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Yep, 2012 has been atrocious for us Burgundian winemakers. Yields are going to be miniscule. I was en route back to London when last night’s storm hit but already my yields were way down with such a poor flowering and some mildew already killing off bunches in one of my vineyards. One vigneron with a gallows humor said some hail would save the vintage! [cry.gif] [help.gif]

It is still very, very early and at least the low yields and lots of tiny clusters should make for some concentrated-as Pinots!

According to Jon Rimmerman losses in Volnay, Pomard and Monthelie are 80-90% based on early reports. Ouch!

I saw several photos that Nico Rossignol posted of several Volnay 1ers, looked pretty bad…

any updates?