Frost in Burgundy & Loire - reduced crop likely!

Posted on April 29, 2016 by John McCabe

We read this on the Wine Spectator website, and thought ye wine buffs would be interested!

Temperatures dipped below freezing in several of France's prized central wine regions this week, striking both Burgundy and the Loire Valley. In the Côte d'Or, Chablis to the north and Côte Chalonnaise, frost arrived early on the morning of April 25 and again the next night and the morning of April 27, resulting in frost that damaged the newly formed buds. Farther west, central regions of the Loire Valley, including Chinon, Bourgueil and Vouvray, were similarly hit.

"We cannot estimate the damage at the moment," said Alex Gambal, the Beaune-based négociant. "Everyone is calling everyone else and it will take a few days to see what results."

Brice de la Morinière, managing director of Domaine Leflaive in Puligny-Montrachet was in New York at the time. Checking in with his team, he learned that when the sun rose, the ice and water on the vines magnified the rays, burning the leaves and shoot tips. He told Wine Spectator that usually frost accumulates in low-lying areas, "but it rose right up Chevalier-Montrachet," at the top of the slope of the famous grands crus of Puligny.

Reports from numerous vintners say that Chardonnay vines were affected in the villages of Puligny, Meursault and Chassagne-Montrachet, while both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were damaged in Pernand-Vergelesses and Savigny-lès-Beaune. However, the damage was widespread, and a full assessment of affected vineyards may take up to two weeks.

The frost comes on the heels of hail in the Mâconnais two weeks ago. At this stage of the growing season, the effect on quality is likely minimal. But the quantity of the eventual harvest may be significantly reduced. "The second buds will arrive in a few weeks, but with very little fruit, and the harvest will certainly be very late," said Claude de Nicolay-Drouhin of Domaine Chandon de Briailles in Savigny-lès-Beaune.

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