French wine vintages

Bordeaux 2015 vintage still looks very promising after rain in mid-month

Bordeaux had wet weather with heavy but localised showers in the middle of the month followed by good weather last week and plenty of dry, sunny weather forecast in the remaining days of September. 

Localised was the key word, with vastly different rain in different parts of the Bordeaux region, but fortunately no hail.

Bordeaux weather forecast commencing September 26th 2015:

Picking has been happening in Bordeaux from around September 21st with early ripening vineyards e.g. Pomerol largely complete with very good grape quality. Lafite-Rothschild completed its Merlot harvest on September 23rd. Later ripening and hence picking regions like Saint-Émilion and Margaux should benefit from the recent good weather and benign forecast. Cabernet Sauvignon is being picked and should be complete on Bordeaux's left bank in coming days and certainly by the first week of October.

Many are saying that 2015 will be a good vintage but maybe not a great one like 2005, 2009 or 2010 with high yields due to the summer sun. So far the omens for nice wines look good with good quality grapes with thick skins and excellent ripeness with no rot or hail damage this year.

Burgundy is also looking good so 2015 looks very good so for French and most European wine this vintage is looking promising. 

After some poor years in Bordeaux and Burgundy could 2015 be the turning point?

After the 2009 and 2010 vintages amazed in both Burgundy and Bordeaux the following years were a bit lacklustre. 

But 2015 looks promising, after a heat wave right across Central Europe. As someone who lives in Central Switzerland, I can testify that my local vines have had plenty of sun and humidity to ripen. 35 degree heat on many days so perhaps too much! A recent visit to Bordeaux and the Loire Valley gave me a hint of things to come.

Its not over until the fat lady sings when you're making wine and September and the harvest is key to the quality of the vintage with picking normally in mid-end September. But its been a promising start in both Burgundy and Bordeaux with rain in August across France, after a dry and calm year. There has been little or no hail or thunderstorms in the wine regions with yields looking very high with no rot or other fungal problems. Just like in 2009 and 2010, things are looking mighty promising. Areas like Margaux have been particularly lacking in rain in the spring and summer months. However with the exception of Margaux, August was wetter than normal with heavy down pours in the latter part of the month (in the Loire at this time it rained for 36 hours in the town of Chinon which I was visiting).

Conditions were perfect for flowering in May and Bordeaux red varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are ripening well with good bunch size and structure. September had a good start with nice sunshine and this is key to ripening and concentration of flavours of the top class wines and especially the cheaper village wines which are grown on less sun exposed locations in the valleys or not on south or west facing slopes.

So September looks to be key and temperatures look to have dropped a bit in the last few days and sun/showers but plenty of the important sunshine. Things look promising for French, Italian and Swiss vintages in 2015 assuming September isn't disastrous. No green grapes this time around unlike 2013 and in some places 2014!

I am sure the first, second and third growth's in Bordeaux and Grand Cru producers in Burgundy are licking their lips with anticipation and hoping for good things in the last part of September. Looks like more rain coming that's for sure and much more unsettled than earlier in the month. Picking looks to be a challenge in both Burgundy and Bordeaux with the wet weather.

See also the article in the Drinksbusiness.com, "Bordeaux on course to make legendary vintage", where it says that "Should dry, sunny conditions remain in Bordeaux, this year’s vintage could be an exceptional harvest – as good as the legendary 1982, according to Baron Philippe de Rothschild MD Philippe Dhalluin".

http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2015/09/bordeaux-on-course-to-make-legendary-vintage/

Weather forecast

w/c 8th September 2015

Bordeaux

Burgundy (Dijon)

w/c 15th September

Bordeaux

Burgundy (Dijon)

dijon weather forecast w/c 15th September 2015