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Årets första skörderapport – Argentina 2010

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Att de nya vinvärldsländerna ligger före vad gäller årgångar är ett faktum. Idag betyder också det ett ekonomiskt försprång då den globala försäljningarenan fungerar på i stort sett samma sätt som den lilla närbutiken, på ett annat och rejält mycket större sätt självklart, men samtidigt med många likheter. Men det är knappast något de franska, italienska eller för den delen de kaliforniska vinproducenterna kan påverka. Hur gärna de än skulle vilja kan vinstockens växtsäsong eller årstiders växlingar inte manipuleras…..

Ta den av den engelska rapporten nedan, presenterad av Wines of Argentina.

2010 GRAPE HARVEST REPORT
Pleased as another great vintage is over in Argentina, we are optimistic about
the quality of the new wines.
Already in the end May, under a cold fall, this is a typical year where we see
Malbec vines displaying their palette of colors, a magnificent array of bordeaux,
ochre, orange and yellow shades tinted with the last hues of green captivates
the eyes of those who tread the vineyards at the foot of the Andes.
The final figures of the 2010 harvest were almost 22% higher than those
recorded in 2009 for the country as a whole (2.59 million tons vs. 2.13 million
tons) and 26% higher than those recorded in Mendoza (1.8 million tons vs. 1.4
million tons). However, in 2009 there was a 25% drop with respect to 2008, so
figures remain 8% below historical levels.

MENDOZA
In brief, the 2010 grape harvest in Mendoza was characterized by a decrease in
the production of some varietals, a 10-to-15-day delay in ripening, lower alcohol
potential and higher acidity, if compared to the previous one.
Overall, it was a very good bud break that took place with a 7- to 10-day delay.
A mild episode of spring frost (on September 30th) when early varieties were
budding was not severe enough to damage shoots, but it did damage
inflorescences, causing what is usually called millerandage, which is the partial
abortion of flowers. This phenomenon, which causes a decrease in the number
of berries in the cluster and therefore reduces their weight, affected some
varieties more than others. Among the hardest-hit varieties were Malbec and
Chardonnay. Decrease in production was uneven, depending on area and
variety, but in general it ranged between 10% and 40%, with the vineyards in
the colder areas suffering the most damage.
The summer started with some delay, as had previously happened with budding
and flowering, which led us to think that the harvest would be delayed as well.
This season was warm at its onset and became cooler towards the end.
January was warm, as was the first fortnight in February. Most days in March
and especially in April were mild, with very cool nights: in short, it was a typical
fall in Mendoza.
If we were to characterize the 2010 harvest in brief, we could say that it was a
dry year with very healthy grapes. After warm January and February, March
Wines of Argentina – Vinos de Argentina A.C.
info@winesofargentina.com.ar – www.winesofargentina.com.ar
was cooler: there was only a big storm on the 19th. That day, rainfall amounted
to 110 mm in some areas of Tupungato. Rainfall was somewhat lower in the
rest of the Uco Valley, and it reached between 40 and 60 mm in the main vinegrowing
areas of Luján. Fortunately, the weather remained dry with very cool
nights, so both health and quality were unaffected.
Sugar accumulation arrest in the berry (i.e. the moment at which the plant stops
accumulating photosynthetic sugar and therefore all increase in sugar
concentration occurs at the expense of water loss in the berry) was delayed and
led to lower potential alcohol levels in the fruit than in 2009.
The harvest of white varieties started in February in the warm areas and in
March in the cooler areas, with excellent health conditions. Very good quality
was obtained and, overall, concentration levels and aromatic intensity were
similar or somewhat lower to those of 2009, especially in Chardonnay. It hadn’t
happened the same in the Uco Valley’s Sauvignon Blanc, where we observe
fresh, vibrant and intense aromatic expression in those sourced from the best
vineyards in the area. The grapes harvested present good freshness. Acidity
levels were higher and alcohol was somewhat lower than in the previous
harvest.
Red varieties suffered a 10-to-15-day delay that remained constant during the
entire phenological cycle, depending on the vineyards and the area. Although
early indications seemed to anticipate a year of lower concentration in red
wines, the decrease in production due to millerandage certainly led to the
obtention of red wines characterized by chromatic and aromatic intensity and
excellent fruit and tannin concentration.
Having had the chance to taste wines in different areas of Luján de Cuyo and
the Uco Valley, we may expect excellent quality, represented by red wines of
intense color, with fruity, floral and rather fresh aromas, a strong presence of
mature tannins, medium to full bodied, perhaps less fleshy than in 2009.
If we compare this harvest to previous ones, we may say that we can expect
these wines to be more like those produced in 2007 or 2008 than those
released in 2009.

SAN JUAN
The winter has been cold enough for an adequate vine’s seasonal rest. Low
temperatures extended until after the beginning of spring, which caused a 7-to
10-day delay in bud break depending on the variety, in comparison with 2009.
Wines of Argentina – Vinos de Argentina A.C.
info@winesofargentina.com.ar – www.winesofargentina.com.ar
In spite of the delay, bud break developed normally, except in certain areas
where frozen temperatures affected some plants. An early frost in September
caused substantial losses in table grape production, particularly in Superior, a
table grape variety widely extended in San Juan.
Flowering and Fruit Set: Fruit set was good in most varieties and there was little
millerandage, except for some cases such as the Malbec grapes of certain
areas.
It is interesting to note that the high summer temperatures and the scarce
rainfall during the year generated water stress symptoms which resulted in
berries of smaller diameter and lighter weight. This in turn resulted in sparser
and lighter clusters with a higher solid-liquid ratio in their berries, which favors
the production of red wines with higher polyphenol concentrations.
In relation to vineyard health, no doubt this has been one of the best years
since no symptoms of cryptogamic diseases were observed due to the scant
rainfall from veraison until maturity.
The white wines obtained show excellent aromatic intensity. Pinot Grigio,
Torrontes, Chardonnay and Viognier excel.
Red wines display great concentration of tannins and anthocyans as well as
very good fruit expression. Shiraz, Bonarda, Cabernet Franc and Malbec stand
out in this group.

LA RIOJA
The 2009 winter evolved within the region’s normal parameters. Frosts started
in mid May and extended into mid September. The latest frosts affected the bud
break and later development of early varieties, especially raisin grape varieties
like Sultanine. Some spells of Zonda wind occurred during the winter but, again,
this was within the region’s expected parameters. The vegetative rest of the
vines was normal.
The spring was very short, since the intense cold of winter quickly gave place to
high summer temperatures. Bud break was normal, but some late frosts
affected the development of a few early varieties. At the end of October there
were a few days with particularly high temperatures that had adverse effects on
the fertilization of the berries of those varieties that were flowering at the
moment. It was a spring with practically no rainfall and normal berry
development during the herbaceous period.
Wines of Argentina – Vinos de Argentina A.C.
info@winesofargentina.com.ar – www.winesofargentina.com.ar
Vineyard health was optimum during most of the season, except for a few
outbreaks of powdery mildew in the most sensitive varieties. There were hardly
any cases of downy mildew and only a few isolated cases of botrytis in some
vineyards where the conditions were ripe for its development.
The summer was very hot, with particularly high temperatures and narrow
temperature ranges during February. Veraison began in the first two weeks of
December for short-cycle varieties and after December 20th for medium- and
long-cycle varieties. Ripening took place as expected, in line with the region’s
characteristics. The intense heat mainly affected medium-cycle varieties, and
this caused some delay in the harvest of certain grape varieties, especially red,
in which the evolution of sugar content was very slow. Nevertheless,
polyphenolic maturation was attained without difficulty.
As every year, Torrontes Riojano stands out among the white varieties, with a
display of superbly developed aromas of citrus and tropical fruit, and some floral
notes. It is followed by Sauvignon Blanc, which presents remarkable varietal
typicity, with aromas of citrus, pineapple and passion fruit, and some
reminiscences of freshly-mowed grass and asparagus.
Most of the red varieties produced sparser clusters and reached polyphenolic
maturation with lower sugar content than in previous years. This resulted in
wines with good color and fruit, and with less hard tannins. The varietal wines
that excel are Malbec, Shiraz and Bonarda, as they achieved excellent fruit
concentration and good complexity which clearly reveal their varietal typicity.
Overall, the 2010 vintage presented less alcohol content, good concentration
and very good fruit.

CAFAYATE
Winter started a little later than usual and it was very cold, with very low
minimum temperatures.
Spring 2009 brought late frosts in September, which delayed some varieties (as
was the case with Malbec) and decreased yield due to millerandage.
Summer was very dry, which prevented sanitary problems.
Wines of Argentina – Vinos de Argentina A.C.
info@winesofargentina.com.ar – www.winesofargentina.com.ar
Short-cycle varieties ripened more quickly and without problems. Long-cycle
varieties had some problems due to the intense heat waves recorded during
January and February, which led to arrested ripening and dehydration
processes in some cases.
There is a sharp increase of investment in the region, both by new investors
and existing wineries. Mechanical harvest is becoming more consolidated for
middle-range wines.
We highlight once again the outstanding grape health conditions, while there
was a drop in kilogram and juice yield. In the annual consumption varieties,
such as Torrontes, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, wines display true
varietal expression, with high intensity and finesse. As regards red wines,
perhaps due to the effect of the weather conditions described above, they are
somewhat alcoholic and have less fresh fruit than in previous years, but we may
forecast good development and ripening during ageing.
Cafayate’s harvest may be briefly characterized as a low-yield year with
healthy, very good quality grapes. We expect to obtain a Torrontes with more
expressive aromas than in 2009.

RIO NEGRO, ARGENTINE PATAGONIA
The winter of the 2009/10 season was long and cold. The spring was hit by
frequent, though mild, frost episodes. It was also very windy and cool. Flowering
had trouble setting and it was two weeks later than usual, with some
millerandage.
The summer was very short, with a single major heat burst in January. The rest
of the season was cool -cooler than usual. Veraison was two weeks later than
normal and clusters ripened at an uneven pace.
The autumn kicked in with long, warm days. These ideal temperatures led to
some lag in full veraison and favored the development of superb ripe
polyphenols along with low alcohols and fresh natural acidity.
The harvest ended late for us, on the 13th of April for Pinot, a late ripening
clone, and on the 18th of April for Malbec. We could have left the grapes much
longer in the plant, but there wasn’t any point, as they were perfect.
Wines of Argentina – Vinos de Argentina A.C.
info@winesofargentina.com.ar – www.winesofargentina.com.ar
I have rarely seen such a year in the new world, which normally is dominated by
much heat and sun. This year worked for ALL varieties and reminded me of
European weather patterns 20 years ago, when one had to wait a long time to
get ripe fruit.

NEUQUEN, ARGENTINE PATAGONIA
In the area of Neuquen the harvest was very much like the harvest in Mendoza:
there was a delay in ripening for an even longer period than in Mendoza and
millerandage in red varieties, especially Malbec.
Although an episode of early frost hit the area with temperatures around -2°C,
only some buds and tips were affected, and not the fruit, which displayed
outstanding quality and health at harvest.

MENDOZA: ROBERTO DE LA MOTA – EDGARDO DEL POPOLO
SAN JUAN: GERARDO DANITZ
LA RIOJA: RODOLFO GRIGUOL
CAFAYATE: VICTOR MARCANTONI
RIO NEGRO: HANS VINDING-DIERS
NEUQUEN: ROBERTO DE LA MOTA

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