By WILLIAM LYONS — The Wall Street Journal Europe
Rising temperatures across the winemaking regions of the world are having a profound impact on taste and quality. Across the world viticulturalists are being forced to adapt climate change. In some cases the shifting weather patterns, combined with higher incidents of extreme events, are contributing to a change in taste, style and character of the wine. While this can be bad news for some wine regions, it can be good for others. Take France in 2009, where the weather conspired to produce wines, across the country, of exceptional quality.
In the faculty of oenology at Bordeaux’s Institute of Vineyard and Wine Sciences the vintage report showed that the growing season met almost perfectly all the conditions for a great Bordeaux vintage. Some vignerons talked about it as a year without comparison, others of how in 2009 they had made the best wine in their lifetimes. In Burgundy, the red wines were exceptionally ripe, forward and low in tannin. In Beaujolais, people talked of the most outstanding vintage for 50 years. Master of Wine, Jasper Morris, described Beaujolais 2009 as luscious, perhaps even as good as the legendary 1959. In Germany, there was widespread euphoria over the quality of the grapes harvested. Critics were united in their praise. In the northern hemisphere, 2009 had been an exceptional year.