Monday, 22 April 2013

En retard

Northern Europe experienced the coldest March ever recorded in places with the meteorological finger pointed firmly at the jet steam which was sitting further south than "normal" for early spring. The consequence of this in the Languedoc has been a wet March, certainly the wettest for more than 50 years and near the Pic Saint-Loup all records were broken with 357mm for the month (or pushing half and inch a day if you prefer).

Given there were relatively few damaging floods this is mostly good news as the water table is now back to "normal" after a run of too many relatively dry winters. Ditches have flowing water and the countryside looks greener for it, as do weed killer free vineyards.

Weed killer free vineyard enjoys a wet 2013 spring
An asparagus grower in the village told me the season started a month late, although a mid-March start would have been considered a bit prompt. Cold nights are blamed with the inability of the skies to string together more than a day of sun. In the photo above, taken on the 11th April, the vines are visually dormant. A week of sunshine from 12th has done the trick and bud-burst in under way.

Old Cinsault vine bud-burst 22nd April 2013
Given a "normal" summer, no doubt the least likely scenario, the harvest is going to be a couple of weeks late. At least the drier vineyards will be sparing established vines water stress.

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