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The May flower

Coming from the direct translation of the french version "A la fleur de Mai" it sounds fun to me. Hope it's working for you too. I apologize in advance for my english writing in this first post.

Incredible, scary and also historical: these are the words you can hear from winegrowers everywhere in France to qualify the advance of the vines evolution in 2020. Little journey in Loire Valley at May 28th.

View of Sancerre city from the south of vineyard
View of Sancerre city from the south of vineyard

During the "Covid" closure of France, Loire Valley vineyards experienced a really nice spring and their really fast evolution make literally run the vinegrowers since more than 2 months.

A really dry april followed by a sunny may excepting two or three days of heavy rains gave the vines all the elements to grow faster than quite all the previous vintages. Beyond the breaking record people expect for the harvest dates, everybody think about the global warming and all the issues winegrowers and winemakers already face in Loire especially to keep the style of the wines.

Some really cold nights reminded some professionnals 2016 and 2017 frost catastrophies but 2020 will not be a spring frost year in Loire valley. If the coldest temperatures made some vinegrowers stay awake in the night, the vine did not slow down (or just a little) and continued its fast development. So fast that the first flowers appeared in Sancerre at May 20th.

Sauvignon blanc just before flowering
Sauvignon blanc just before flowering

At the western part of Loire, in Muscadet region, the observation is the same. More than that, winegrowers notice a really strong uniformity beetween the different grapes. If it stay the same during the next months, the harvest period could be a little bit tricky regarding the date picking choices.

2003 heatwave episode leaded the first handpickers start their work in the end of August. In 2020, Muscadet vineyards could start to be animated just after August 15th.

In Vouvray, Benoit Gautier feel the same way with a really early chenin flowering. The harvest for chenin dedicated to sparklinf could be harvested before september 1st.

The flower of Sauvignon blanc grape
The flower of Sauvignon blanc grape

In Centre-Loire region, François DAL, from SICAVAC (professional viticulture laboratory), explain that the pinot noir flowering is finishing and that sauvignon is in full flowering period.

Looking forward, we can notice that professionals already experiencedthis kind of exceptional moments: in 2011, 2007 and...1893.

For the record, 2007 and 2011, despite their precocity, were not so easy to manage at the end of the year just to remind that the summer weather conditions are, of course, essential.

In Centre-Loire also, the difference beetween appellations and more precisely beetween plots is tiny, much more than a classic year.

Exception of Reuilly Pinot gris, always the first to be picked, Centre-Loire domains are ready to harvest before the end of august. To be continued...

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