Sunday, December 9, 2012

The 2012 Alsace vintage, commented by vigneron Florian Beck-Hartweg

Alsace wine producers will remember 2012  as one of the most stressful vintage in the last times! We had all the climate extremes we could imagine : some winter frost, much rain in summer, hail... We had to be very vigilant all year long and adapt our strategy to the climate.

The sunny and dry weather in August and early September saved us. This permitted to dry the leaves and the grapes, and thus to avoid the rotting of the grapes. The grapes ripened very fast, permitting to start the grape picking earlier than expected. Then the weather forecasts predicted a long rainy period, and we realized that we had to pick the grapes as fast as possible, knowing that the grapes were perfectly ripe and that there was a risk of dilution and rotting.

We started with the Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, which are really great: very healthy and a nice balance in the wines. Then the Gewurztraminers were very aromatic and balanced too. We picked all our vineyards because we realized that there was no chance to produce any good late harvests this year, which turned to be a good choice. Finally we picked the Rieslings last, which had more difficulty to ripen due to the draught. The best vineyards with low yields and deep roots managed to ripen before the rains, the others will be a bit lighter this year.

However, the result is much better than what we expected during the summer! In my opinion and in my region of Alsace, Pinot Noirs and Pinot Gris will be the best varieties this year, some Riesling and the late harvests won't be as good as in the last years.

Florian BECK-HARTWEG, ecological winegrower in Alsace
Dambach-la-Ville, 9 December 2012.

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