Alsace 2013 – crisp and wet


Here's (most of) what the Comité Interprofessionnel des Vins d'Alsace has to say about this year's vintage.

Harvesting finished in late October with the sun shining warmly, as if Nature wanted to make up for all the trials and tribulations it had foisted on the vineyards this year. Rarely has a vintage been subjected to so many variations in the weather.

Winter and spring were chilly and markedly rainy and the weather did not change for the better until late June. The low temperatures in May meant, as elsewhere in France, flowering was late and drawn out, which in turn resulted in shatter and millerandage. It was already obvious by early summer that volumes would be down and the harvest later than usual. July and August saw a complete reversal of the weather, with high temperatures provoking water stress in certain spots. The modest rainfall in August allowed the vines to catch up slightly, while the hail around Colmar fortunately did little damage.

In September the vines were generally in good health, and the high acidity previously recorded had fallen to satisfactory levels. The weather conditions were, for the first time, ideal with warm days and cool nights.

Harvest dates are determined by grape ripeness and the main grape harvest began on 30 September, not without difficulty for rain arrived after the first few days. Fortunately, acidity levels remained high despite the risk of dilution. The rain particularly affected the
Riesling and Gewurztraminer harvest, with vineyard vigour once again being instrumental in determining wine quality.

The adverse weather conditions in the second half of October and the low yields in general mean that Vendanges Tardives and Sélections de Grains Nobles will be available in only very small quantities.

The 2013 harvest is expected to produce about 950,000 hl of AOC wine, 15% less than the average harvest over the last five years.