Les 5 du Vin

5 journalistes parlent du vin

What is more depressing – 2016 Loire or Brexit?

14 Commentaires


« You idiots! »
Berlin taxi driver brilliantly
sums up the UK’s stupidity


2016: Mildew has been virulent in the Loire
attacking not just leaves but grapes, too

At first sight I am finding it difficult to decide which is more depressing – the 2016 Loire vintage or Brexit. Both have very considerable capacity to induce gloom – black dog.

« Compliquée ! » is the most common description to sum up the 2016 Loire. This year has thrown almost everything possible at many producers: frost in late April, torrential rain and floods at end of May inducing attacks of mildew of rare virulence, an uneven flowering at best, then a heatwave and virtually no rain during July and August grilling any grapes foolish to be facing the afternoon sun.

Producers, who still have 50% of their potential crop, are lucky. There is a significant number of producers, who will not bother to harvest this year. Others have picked well less than 10 hl/ha. One small Muscadet producer picked just 4.5 hl/ha last week.

Vincent Carême (Vouvray) likened the 2016 vintage to a ham slicing machine. 10% of his crop disappeared with the frost, another 10% in the torrential rain, 10% at flowering, 10% through mildew and another 10% on sunburn to reduce his crop by half.

There are, fortunately, some producers less badly affected often those with vines on steep slopes but it remains even for them a complicated year.

If 2016 is a complicated vintage, it is nothing compared to the complications and demons released by the exit vote in the UK’s remarkably foolish referendum. Unfortunately our government has interpreted this advisory referendum as a mandate to seek the worst possible deal for the UK by choosing a hard Brexit. Ministers dream of new trade deals with countries like Australia – current population 24 million – while we turn our back on our nearest market of 500 million. It’s enough to drive you to sample multiple bottles of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc……

A short reflection clarifies that Brexit is undoubtedly more depressing than 2016 in the Loire. Here there is always the hope of a good and generous vintage in 2017. With Brexit you know it is going to get much worse…..





Auteur : Les 5 du Vin

Journalistes en vin

14 réflexions sur “What is more depressing – 2016 Loire or Brexit?

  1. According to some experts (German taxi drivers, Cassandra, Mr Juncker, etc), it should already have got much worse by now. Maybe we should send you some of our politicians to make sure?


  2. Hervé. May be but you have to remember that we remain in the EU for the moment. However, the verdict of the currency markets is pretty plain.


  3. Et pendant ce temps la, en region parisienne, nos cepages resistants ont perdu 0% a cause du mildiou, avec 0 traitement phyto.
    Qu’attend la France pour etudier serieusement ces cepages?


  4. Je suis d’accord avec Denis sur la question des cépages résistants. Cette lenteur est affligeante !

    Et je suis d’accord avec Jim sur la question du Brexit. D’ailleurs j’ai demandé la nationalité française. Dans ce cas de figure je m’attendais à une invitation à déjeuner ou à dîner avec Monsieur le Préfet de Police Paris qui allait me féliciter et dérouler un tapis rouge devant mes pieds, au lieu de quoi j’ai reçu une feuille photocopiée avec une longue liste de documents à produire, dont certains n’existent même pas (tous mes anciens passeports, par exemple). Les splendeurs des administrations !


  5. Amis Britishs, c’est évidemment votre pays, vous êtes mieux placés que nous pour juger de ce qu’il doit devenir.
    Permettez-moi quand même de trouver qu’il est sain que l’on ait donné l’occasion aux citoyens de s’exprimer sur une question aussi importante que l’Europe. Personne ici n’a nié aux Ecossais le droit d’avoir leur référendum, je pense. Alors pourquoi le nierait-on cette fois? Et traiter d’idiots ceux qui ne votent pas comme nous, c’est un peu facile. On est toujours l’idiot de quelqu’un.
    Quant à la nationalité française, et à la paperasserie française, »bienvenue dans notre monde », David!
    Même si, et ça n’engage que moi, je trouve qu’on ne devrait pas pouvoir changer de nationalité, mais plutôt que l’on devrait faciliter la vie de ceux qui vivent depuis longtemps et légalement chez nous – en fait, leur donner à peu près les mêmes avantages qu’à nous.
    Mais tout cela nous éloigne du vin…


  6. Another excerpt from a Twitter account

    View conversation

    Kim Kardashian @ ladyKa
    Side note : I’m back in NYC & Natalie Portman asked me where I was coming from.
    I said France she went «Hands up ! » (joking) Haha. You bimbos !


  7. Jim, I’m afraid mildew almost always spreads to other parts of the vine than just the leaves … unless human interference can be quick and very efficient. Let’s first stress, for your French-speaking readers, that mildew is actually “mildiou” in their tongue, whereas powdery mildew translates as “oïdium”. One usually refers to mildew as to a fungal disease, which is not strictly true. The pathogens (different in various plant genera) belong to oomycetes (oomycota) that are more closely related to algae and green plants than true fungi. This is the reason for their exquisite sensitivity to copper derivatives. Anyway, in the case of grapes, the bug is called Plasmopara viticola, and it is of American origin (appeared at the end of the 19th century in Europe). It usually starts on the upper surface of the leaves, the so –called “gouttes d’huile”, which are quite pathognomonic. Then, a white type of “coating”, giving the down-like appearance appears and often invades the inferior aspect of the leaves as well. As it progresses, the leaves will ultimately dessicate. Then, the “grape stadium” begins and so on. I will spare you the scientific names of the different stadia. Problem is, I speak from experience. I never had mildew on my vines till 2014 (powdery mildew is another kettle of fish) but then it hit hard and I hardly had any harvest on those vineyards which had been infected. You haven’t got many solutions, if you refuse to resort to synthetic chemicals. Those hypocrites who consider copper sulfate as a “natural” product are weird. I don’t want to spread it on grounds but admit it is possibly the best preventive measure. Alternatives like folpet (Bayer !!!) or mancozebe (a carbamate which inhibits cholinesterase enzymes) should not be allowed at all, if you ask me, for health issues. Then, you’re down to your esoteric “purin de prêle” thing, a horsetail decoction. I’ve got no hands-on experience myself.
    So, Jim. If you do … nothing, and the weather is “favorable”, you’ll inevitably get a spreading from the leaves to the other parts of the vine. Problem is, if you DO something (copper sulfate spraying for instance) but the wind blows, or the rain falls again or, you name it, your treatment will be very poorly active. And then chemistry, with all its draw-backs, is almost mandatory. Another solution is just to let it happen, as I did in 2014, but you lose all!


  8. But of course, the main subject (?) was Brexit. As for nationalities, I think one better had NONE. Roots do exist, and they are essential in our personality development, but they’ve got nothing to do with an “official” status. And I think the language is a pivotal part of them. The numerous so-called “Catalans” who don’t speak the idiom are preposterous. The ex-football player who had to learn the “Basque” tongue but claimed his belonging to the tribe, or the Leroy-girl (a singer) are all pathetic. Another matter altogether is Hebrew, which was “re-invented” allright but really stands for a culture now, or the Gaelscoil.
    In a way, I agree with Hervé. I happen to have a fraction of my tongue in common with the country which has tolerated me. But the day they request me to become a national, I leave at once, vineyards or no vineyards.


  9. Luc, thanks for your enlightening remarks on the various mildews and the difficulties of treating these.
    As to passports and things pertaining to these, my first choice would have been for a Gascon passport, or a world one, but neither exist, and neither does a pan-european version (but there again, would I want to be partly Hungarian ?). All of this is farcical but one has to make choices and, at the moment, I cannot vote anywhere, except for local or European elections.


    • I fully sympathize. I realize there’s some bit of … internationalism in you, my friend! Who would have thought that? You are harsh on the Magyars: Kodaly, Liszt, Bartok … and also Koszta in your domain. And then maybe the greatest of all, Sandor Ferenczi. He cured many a poor war veteran from extreme psychiatric disorders by the sheer power of his analytic talents. I recommend: Selected Writings in Penguin Books, published in 1999. When I first read this one, I was sitting (alone and sad in the long aftermath of a very tender love affair), with my back against the stones on top of the walls of Reguengos de Monsaraz’ Castle, overlooking both beautiful Alentejo and the nearby Spanish Extremadura. I still feel the shivers in my spine and the thrill of it all. The poor man stupidly died of Biermer’s anemia, a disease so easy to recognize and treat nowadays.


  10. J’ai mangé à Monsaraz, Luc, un midi, à peu près à la même époque que toi. Très beau souvenir. J’aime l’Alentejo, jusque dans la férocité de son climat, dans le dépouillement de son horizontalité.
    Et j’aime aussi la Hongrie et les Hongrois.


    • Si je me souviens bien (plus de 15 ans tout de même), il y a dans le village un restaurant qui propose au moins 15 préparations de morue dessalée et j’avais choisi celle émiettée avec l’oeuf et les petits oignons rissolés (je ne me souviens plus du nom mais c’est un classique). Comme tous les Portugais, j’avais bu du … rouge sur ce plat. Il était … capiteux et la portion de poisson était copieuse. Ma gourmandise avait chassé ma mélancolie. Tu sais, je suis allé pique-niquer au Petit Saint-Bernard (voir http://leblogdeluc.jimdo.com/2015/12/21/quelque-chose-en-nous-de-buzzati ) au fort de la Redoute Ruinée et cela ma rappelait Buzzati. Monsaraz aussi. Dixit Jacques Brel: je ne serai pas héros!


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