12 July 2012

Winemaker says it's a "bad year"

Nearly everything is green now, except the wheat. It's ready to be harvested, I'd say.

We had a very informative and delicious wine-tasting and talk with Patricia down at the Domaine de la Renaudie late yesterday afternoon. We all wanted to buy some of every one of the 10 or 12 different white, rosé, red, and sparkling wines they make.

In April, I put this plant outside, on the north side of the house,
thinking it was pretty much dead. It has obviously
enjoyed the recent cool, wet weather.

Patricia said that 2012 has been one of the worst years on record for their vineyards. The year started out mild in January — so mild through December and January that the sap had not descended into the roots of many trees and vines. When the sudden cold snap hit in early February, plants and trees froze and many died.

I'm still waiting for these house leek flowers to pop open.

Then, after a few sunny days in March, the weather turned cold and damp in April. The grape flowers didn't develop as they should, and the grape crop will be very small this year. On top of it all, the deer population exploded and they caused considerable damage to the vines. Now the summer continues to be damp — thus the small crop Patricia is predicting.


  1. Alexander Monmousseau from Chateau Gaudrelle told us it's his worst year in 40 years of winemaking. Interesting detail about the sap and the deer population from Patricia.

  2. Sometimes, though, if the wine is exceptionally good and in great demand, they can make up for low supply with higher prices.

  3. Hi Ellen, what you say is true. Let's hope the weather improves and the small grape crop turns out to be of excellent quality.

    Susan, that's confirmation, then. We've been seeing deer on our walks, but I didn't think there were more of them than usual. I guess they come out at night to feed and so we don't see them.

  4. Wow, it's amazing how different the overall weather can be in two different places. Here, we're having the worst heat in decades, there, you're having ongoing, unseasonable cold.

    I read yesterday that the record temperatures for St. Louis for yesterday's date were 106° in 1966, but 55° in 1963! Up and down!

    The last time I was in France in summer was, I think, 2004? (I think it was the summer after the historic canicule summer in France.) Weather while I was there was just like you've been describing-- it felt like 50s and 60s°F and it was rainy.

  5. We experienced the canicule in 2003. It was sad to see the parched wheat fields and really HOT in Provence without air conditioning.

  6. In 2003, we had temperatures almost as high as you've had this summer in the U.S. We had just arrived in Saint-Aignan from chilly, foggy San Francisco, and we felt like we might not survive here. We had no AC (still don't) but we've never felt like we needed AC since that first summer. It's still hard to believe that this is summer no. 10...

  7. I am more often then not, choosing sparkling wine.

  8. I'm almost sure this plant is not an Echeveria but a Sempervivum. The former isn't cold hardy but the latter is. In addition, Echeveria leaves are much fatter.

  9. Oops, I actually knew that, CHM. Thanks.


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