2021, the vintage of depression

A what is the quality of a vintage? To the quantity of grapes picked, to the beauty of the bunches? Has the longevity of a wine that no one will have the patience to experience? To the number of stars listed on a wine merchant’s leaflet? This question still torments me. Whichever way we take the 2021 vintage, no one will think of calling it great. Rather, it is the vintage of depression. Where to situate it, between the small and the large, the vintage that caused so many tears? Who has aroused so much anguish, short nights, relentlessness, but who will perhaps show, once bottled, admirable resilience? Welcome to 2021.

31 mars : It’s been mild for a few days, but now it’s hot, we go out in a T-shirt. Hey, it’s even the hottest day ever recorded in March since 1900. In the vines, the buds are emerging. They house the clusters. Summer is coming early now.

5 avril : and winter is coming back quickly! The weather forecast announces frost almost everywhere. But, worse, it should last several nights. Depending on the region, depending on the area, we prepare everything that can stir the air and maintain a little heat between the rows of vines. Candles, braziers, heaters, wind turbines, even helicopters. And a few matches, to be wedged between the eyelids to keep the eyes of the teams open, in the vines.

8 avril : it’s getting worse. An exceptionally cold episode, says the television. And she shows the thousands of little lights that dot the plots, every night. A starry sky upside down is pretty. The straw bales that burn like the evening of Midsummer’s Day have an air of celebration. The winegrowers are tired.

11 avril : at least they fought. The worst is for those who slept well, because here, on this slope, in this valley or on this plateau, it never freezes. And who woke up to find that if, here too, it had frozen. Sixty departments were affected by the frost, all the Bordeaux appellations, of course Loire, Rhône, Languedoc and Provence, all wine regions in fact.

24 avril : we regain the hair of the beast. The FranceAgriMer organization expects 28% to 30% crop losses, there are still buds, plots spared. And who knows, if we had a great summer, it would allow the development of a second generation of buds. What to repair the damage. And then those whose sales were slowed down by the Covid last year have wine in reserve. And then also, for once, all the regions are in the same boat.

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