Announcing that France's 2007 harvest is ruined seems a little exaggerated – at least for Bordeaux. But news reports, particularly in the British press, have been saying that the consistent rains and cold weather this summer have almost completely destroyed the young crop. That's mostly due to the vine disease called oidium, or powdery mildew, a fungus that can attack all parts of the vine.
This disease is a fairly easy one to control with proper spraying of the vineyards. I guess the problem is that some of the small growers do not have the finances to treat their crops. Too bad for them. But the well-known producers with a market for their wines have the money, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Here's a portion of an e-mail from a friend in Bordeaux whose family makes excellent wines:
"BS ... 60 days of non-stop rain!! Why not 90?
The pressure of mildew is of course there and some small vineyards are already "harvested." But regarding the good ones, the vineyard is under control so far and forecast is good for the next days. No rain today. Août fait le moût ... Let's wait and see. Still a long run to the vendanges.”
How many times have I seen a crop in Bordeaux go through a bad growing season in June and July? It really is a case of “Août fait le moût.” August makes the must. In other words, if consistent sunshine and warmth replaces the wet and cold weather, all will be well. Or should be well.
Will this make the 2006 vintage even more valuable, with what could be a disaster in 2007? Early days, my friends. And let’s not forget that 2006 was a good to very good, even excellent, year for the top names of Bordeaux. But it was not 2005, 2000 or any other truly exceptional year. And there are a lot of older vintages on the market at the moment for the same price or less than many of their counterparts in 2006.
Less-than-great vintages do make some excellent wines. The other night I served my only magnum of 1994 Château Pape Clément White at a dinner party in my home for 16 people. It was awesome. It had a rich and lemony nose with hints of dried apricots and wax was well as flowers. It was full and thick with lots of creamy and honey flavors. The Italian winemaker next to me, Stefano Chioccioli, thought it was a white Burgundy, and a top-class one at that. Anyway, in tasting it non-blind I gave the wine 95 points, and it had a long life ahead of it.
Niall Cosgrove — Ireland — July 12, 2007 3:45pm ET
Miguel Lecuona — Austin, TX — July 12, 2007 6:15pm ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — July 12, 2007 8:20pm ET
Thomas Gallagher — Napa, CA — July 13, 2007 1:29pm ET
David A Zajac — July 13, 2007 8:09pm ET
Alexander Wong — Hong Kong — July 17, 2007 1:45pm ET
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