« 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…..