2012 Harvest Snapshots

A look at the 2012 harvests from regions across Europe


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2012 Bordeaux

The story in Bordeaux mirrors that told across much of Europe. The start of the season was delayed by a cool, damp spring and a late arrival of the warmth of summer, but when summer did finally arrive, it was on! Summer temperatures were above average and the weather was dry, resulting in regional stress of the vines and a relatively slow development. This remained true right through the season, with harvest delayed by one to three weeks across the region by late arriving rains towards the end of September. Producers have been optimistic that these late rains helped return some balance to the fruit on the vines and that an Indian summer can propel the grapes over some of the hurdles on the way to high quality, mature fruit.

When the fruit did approach maturity, there were distinct issues with physiological ripeness landing some of the technical indicators. Harvest was further extended with some late ripening varieties still on the vine. Late harvest vines of Sauternes and other sweet wines are still to be harvested. It's too early to tell where the quality of the wines of 2012 will end up, as there are equal choruses of “great vintage" and "winemaker’s vintage” emanating from the region. Bordeaux is expert at talking up its wines, but time is important here. My gut is that this is, in fact, a winemaker's vintage and that time will show who truly understood the vintage. I expect quality to be above average but uneven.

Bordeaux image via Shutterstock

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