VOL. 17 NO. 3
|The Independent Traveler's Newsletter|
|HAIL STORMS STRIKE FRANCE'S VINEYARDS . . .|
IN THIS ISSUE:
Ici et Là
Burgundy to You
Cruises in France
War II Le Havre
"Nature cannot be tricked or cheated. She will give up to you the object of your struggles
only after you have paid her price." - Napoleon Hill, American Author [1883 - 1970]
We read recently that the Champagne producers of France expected to have a bumper crop harvest and a banner year. Unfortunately, the end of July brought five days of wind and rain, ending with a hail storm the last day. The steep slopes of many vineyards were eroded by the heavy rains. Sadly, neighboring Burgundy suffered damage as well a few days earlier. On the 24th of July hail storms ravaged the prestigious Côte de Beaune growing region with an expected loss of some 4 million bottles, or 15% of their 2011 production. Familiar appellations such as Pommard had damage to 70 to 90 percent of their vines in the northern Pommard, and in the southern Pommard and neighboring Volnay the damage was 30 to 70 percent of the vines. Mersault vineyards were badly damaged in the Côte de Beaune as well, and steady rain caused major flooding of vineyards along the storm's path. There was even more bad news in France - the Alsace region was not spared when, on August 6th, hail storms battered the vineyards and the estimated loss is now 60% in the southern part of the region.
The western sky and Château Bauduc's vines before the hail storm
But, Mother Nature hadn't forgotten Bordeaux. On Friday, August 2, a typically calm and lovely day in the Bordeaux region, a surprise evening storm quickly approached from the Atlantic and carved a swath of destruction across some of the region's most notable vineyards. Like the aftermath of a tornado in the American midwest, some vineyards had 100% loss while their neighbors had none.
Gavin and Angela Quinney, the owners of Château Bauduc near Créon in Bordeaux, were about to enjoy dinner with friends in the garden when Gavin looked at the western sky and knew something was brewing. We've followed Gavin's wine blog for several years, enjoying well-written accounts of life as a vigneron in France, always filled with his wry humor. His are the 'house wines' for Gordon Ramsay's restaurants, and his web site and blog included amusing videos of the occasional visits by Oz Clarke and James May that have brightened our days. The August blog, however, was quite unsettling with news of the hail storm that destroyed half Bauduc's 2013 harvest. Gavin tells it better than we possibly could, so here are a few excerpts from his blog to give a clearer picture of what took place.
warm and sunny but there was a chill in the air, similar to the lull before
the storm in September 2011, when hail narrowly missed us, and in May 2009,
when it didn't . . . We were debating if there was still enough time to
have dinner outside – it was just after 8:30 – when the wind picked up.
Then rain. Hard rain. Within seconds, as the wind moved up a gear, the
dreaded hail, hurtling from west to east – small icy white balls, bouncing
on the ground, clattering on the tiled roof overhead and pinging loudly
on a watering can . . . The hailstones weren't especially large but they
came in low, from the side, propelled by fierce winds. Not good for young
grapes, not good for leaves and branches, not good at all.
inside. . .
with a click
> to get an inside look at the Rouen Armada ~ tall ships sailing into the Seine from Honfleur ~ with Rob Silverstone, the 'Mule' in Normandy.
> if you ever wondered what may be involved in moving to France and beginning a business - read Bringing Burgundy to You.
> and do read about the very special cruise offer in our Ici et Là column and the discount for readers of this newsletter.
> to take a
nostalgic trip back to Paris in Reminiscences
> for our feature article, Part IV of Fall in Love with These French Villages.
> to join Arthur Gillette in his visit to the port of Le Havre as he tells us about the rebuilding of the city after 80% was destroyed in WWII.
TONGUES . . .
by Arthur Gillette
Welcome to Twisted Tongues, a French word game everyone can play. See if you can come up with the correct translation of the phrase in question. You may be quite surprised by how it differs from what you first thought it meant.
Answer from our Spring issue: Faire bombance = "go bombing"? No! The word bombance stems from the 11th century root bo (to swell up), and this phrase means "to feast" and, more broadly, "to have a good time".
Avoir sa langue dans sa poche.
Does it mean to have one's tongue in one's pocket? No!
Gillette to take advantage of his amazing knowledge of Paris
Have you ever been to St-Malo?
an independent travel guide, is a comprehensive and informative