By ANDREW JEFFORD | DECANTER Newsletter | May 15, 2017
Le journaliste britannique Andrew Jefford installé en France depuis une dizaine d’années, revient sur ce qu’il pense être les différentes causes du retour du gel tardif en Europe.
It’s only May, but it seems likely that we already know the headline story of 2017 for French vineyards, and to a lesser extent for those elsewhere in Europe, too, the UK included. It’s one of savage spring frosts coming after a generally mild early spring, with almost no region in France unaffected, while some regions (notably Bordeaux) have experienced the worst frosts for a quarter century.
The exact extent of the damage will become clear over the next month as flowering takes place in the vineyards. May and June’s own weather patterns, too, will have an impact on the recovery potential of the vines. Frost is almost as unfair as hail, with some vineyards being totally destroyed while others not far away, or a little higher up a slope, escape unscathed. But estimates in Bordeaux, Cognac, the Loire, Champagne and Alsace suggest potential losses of between one quarter and one half of the potential crop, and with both Burgundy and the Languedoc sustaining significant damage, too. Entire appellations have been affected. Only 10 per cent of he 2017 Savennières crop is reported to have survived the April frosts.