Cold winters are generally common in the Mendoza region and the summer of Salta brings high heat. But generally, making an assumption about the weather here rarely works. I’m going to have a brief look at some past harvest reports and see if can make up a conclusion on whether it is a matter of life or a weak wine. 🙂
Following two incredibly strong Malbec years in 2002 and 2005, the next few years would prove difficult for Argentine winemakers especially in the Mendoza and Patagonia region due to extreme weather conditions:
2006 was a year that started off looking as though it could fill the shoes of 2005. The results overall were excellent for Malbec, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Winter was cooler and wetter than usual, but winemakers were given optimum weather to go out for picking. Luck took a turn for the worse at the end of the year in the form of a hail storm.
Although not as disastrous as 1998, the conditions at the end 2006 were clear signs of how 2007 would present itself. The hail storms continued. A cooler March and April also made picking difficult in Mendoza as the grapes ripened slowly. Although seen as a benefit that the spread of mildew and rot were prevented, many compared 2007 to 2006: Both vintages were good, but did not compare to 2002 and 2005.
Although an impressive seven snow falls were seen at the beginning of 2008, the year put a change to the pattern with good produce with thick skins due to the extreme weather conditions. The Malbec had a good color and high acidity, a sign of its high quality. Although outcome was good, the conditions did affect winemakers Daniel Pi, the head winemaker at Trapiche, noted that he lost 20% of his Cabernet crop due to the April frost.
2010 was dry, with healthy grapes. The final figures were almost 22% higher than those recorded the year before, a year that showed white wines with intense fruitiness, complexity and elegance. In this year, whites had a higher acidity level and alcohol was lower. Harvest continued on the increase at 10% higher than 2010.
2013 has been predicted to be a better year than 2012, returning to the standard of 2011. So far with the cooler January than usual I don’t know how optimistic one should be. But on the other hand, looking at the model of 2008, stormy weather could produce grapes with thicker skin and a good color, a good malbec, which would be great. The main conclusion is that the success really does depend on the weather!