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Bordeaux 2021 harvest was 20% below 10-year average following spring frosts

Late spring frosts caused the Bordeaux 2021 vintage to decrease by 14% year-on-year to just 3.77 hectolitres, according to the regional industry body.

The Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) revealed that the Bordeaux 2021 vintage was 20% below the region’s 10-year average.

Bud burst came earlier than usual amid very sunny weather in March, and many young buds were then destroyed by severe frosts, which hammered the region in early April.

It means that producers will have just 503 million bottles from the 2021 vintage, which is significantly below average.

The region’s sweet whites, including Sauternes, suffered the sharpest year-on-year declines, with this category down 51%.

Yet climatic conditions were perfect for promoting the growth of Botrytis cinerea, and producers reported high levels of acidity and concentration, so the quality should be high.

The red wine harvest started at the end of September, which was much later than in recent years. Bordeaux was bathed in the sunniest October since 1991, allowing Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to reach full ripeness in ideal conditions.

The harvest was down by just 6% year-on-year in the Médoc, which accounted for 15% of total production, with 565,000hl. However, the situation was bleaker for red wine from the Right Bank, as combined yields for St-Emilion, Pomerol and Fronsac fell by 21% year-on-year.

Further down the Left Bank, producers in Graves reported a 25% decline in production compared to 2020.

Production of Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur dropped 15% to 1.65 million hl, accounting for 55% of production, while Côtes de Bordeaux was down 14% to 480,000hl.

Dry white production declined by 15%, but rosé was down just 3% and Crémant de Bordeaux is up 1% versus 2020.

Prof. Laurence Geny and Prof. Axel Marchal of the oenology research unit at the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin de l’Université de Bordeaux, gave a succinct report on the 2021 vintage: ‘Exceptional dry whites, rare but remarkable sweet wines and uniform quality for the reds.’

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