Last year’s spring frosts hit Bordeaux pretty hard, with the post-flowering cold snap taking out an average of 40% of the grape crop in April. The knock on effect to drinker and investor feelings about Bordeaux could already be felt with a luke warm reaction to the 2017 Primeurs campaign that stopped before ever really getting going. What the region needed was a good run of weather in 2018 to bounce back. But reports coming out of Bordeaux speak of tough times ahead.
Thunderstorms in regions such as Graves and Entre Deux Mers brought hailstones the size of golf balls that stripped vines on scores of vineyards. But now it looks like those cold, damp times brought with them a sleeping assassin; Mildew fungus.
One of the biggest threats to vines are fungal infections. The two most notorious are Powdery and Downy mildew, the former growing in warm and humid conditions, the later in the cool and damp. Either way at some point in the year if you’re in a marginal climate, like Bordeaux for example, you’re in danger of one or both. And current treatments are contentious.
The copper compound treatments used, known as Bouillie Bordelaise, have been around for nearly a couple of centuries. The hard metal solution acts as a buffer to stop fungal spores taking hold of the leaves. This is the famous blue powder you see across vineyards across the world.
Organic? Biodynamic? Women in wine? Castell D’Age, from Penedes in Catalunya, must be right up there as a hashtagger’s dream winery. I met this brilliant team when they were attending the Millsime Bio Organic Wine Fair in Montpellier late in January 2018. Top wines, top people, and the story to boot. I couldn’t not do a quick blog, could I?
When I got involved in the idea of doing this tweet up session I was a bit wary about selling out a bit too much. I’ve never really been involved in tastings for what I think to be brands. What kind of company are Villa Maria? Sure I’d tried their wines, and liked them and thought they did a great job in promoting kiwi wine. But what if they were big brand wine guys, like the Echo Falls of this world, intent on sticking stuff on the shelf without a care of the wines or the world they grow it in. Sounds a bit daft, but I genuinely worry about that kind of stuff.