Muscadet logoSome of the Loire Valley’s most famous wines are likely to be in short supply and at increased prices in the next 12 months or so, following bad weather which is just one of the perils which winemakers face.

In the Spring the western end of the Loire, where it meets the Atlantic and home to Muscadet, was hit by severe frosts which hit just as the fragile buds were breaking – such that there will be little if any crop or wine from many estates. The vine can tolerate moderate frosts when it is dormant in the winter , but once the buds begin to break it can be very vulnerable. The Daily Telegraph (25 July 2008) reported that:

“Growers said yesterday that up to 70% of the Melon de Bourgogne grapes used to make Muscadet were killed by frost in April. A second bloom – which normally gives the vines a chance to recuperate – was also ravaged by cold and wet weather atthe start of the summer”

Then towards the end of June a severe hailstorm hit the vineyards of the Centre region, particularly around Poully-Fumé and to a lesser extent Sancerre. This is classic Loire Sauvignon Blanc territory.

It seems particulary rough on Muscadet, which has in recent years overcome its old reputation for producing cheap, thin, acidic wines – recent years have seen the appellation transformed with many more excellent whites from the region becoming available – still retaining their very dry and acidic character but with much more depth of flavour and fruit content.

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