Back in July, the prognosis for the 2012 vintage looked rather bleak, after several months of rain (more than twice the amount usually seen in the region). This naturally lead to concerns regarding both downy mildew (at a level comparable to 1997) and powdery mildew (superior to 2004). The parcels affected were limited geographically, though, which makes the selection process easier. Thankfully six uninterrupted weeks of sun and warm weather since the end of July, combined with the necessary water accumulated in the soils drastically changed the situation, and the future is looking very promising indeed.
In any case, 2012 will be a year of low quantities, even though we were lucky not to be particularly affected by frost (10% loss overall in the region) or hail. Limited quantities can turn into a boon, though, if the remaining grapes are in perfect sanitary condition and moving steadily towards the precise level of maturity we hope for—and this is exactly what we are seeing right now. Furthermore, despite the rather high projected sugar levels, the berries retain a high acidity. This in turn reminds us of the 1996 vintage, although any comparison is obviously premature.
We are planning to begin with the harvest tomorrow, not only based on hard facts but also the tasting of the grapes themselves: they start to display very intense, yet fresh aromatics. Join me again after the harvest to check whether our hopes were fulfilled.