Friday, 20 May 2011
2011 vintage – earliest since 1893?
Vines flowering in mid-May – jamais vue ça! (photo: Mark Robertson)
There are now reports of vines flowering in many parts of the Loire with signs of flowers appearing by last weekend and possibly even earlier. This is best part of a month in advance of last year's flowering and days ahead of very early years like 1989 and 2003, when flowering was towards the end of May. You have to go way back to 1893 to find a year when the vines have been so far in advance.
Normally you count 100 days from flowering to picking, so some Loire producers will be picking in August unless there is a very cold spell or the vines shut down due to drought stress. Many producers, who often take a short holiday before the harvest begins, will be having to change their vacation plans!