Bordeaux readies to plant southern varieties in face of climate crisis
As the last of the Cabernet Sauvignon is picked in what looks to be a 'good' 2019 vintage, Bordeaux is gearing up for what may be the most significant change in vineyard complexion since the ravages of phylloxera in the late 1800s.
During a now typical harvest, coming in two weeks earlier than just 20 years ago, the AoP governing authorities have officially voted in the use of seven new grape varieties, which the CIVB says now just need to be 'rubber stamped' ahead of planting next year.
Touriga Nacional, Marselan, Castets and Arinarnoa will join the more regular reds, while Albariño, Petit Manseng and Liliorila will be planted alongside the permitted whites.
The move to bring in varieties, including southern French, Spanish and Portuguese grapes, is in response to ongoing climate change and its effect on the Bordeaux vineyards, where longer hot and dry summer periods are currently among the most prominent changes in the weather patterns.
The CIVB also confirms that plantings of Petit Verdot (a late ripener) and Carmenere are on the rise, being varieties that are better adapted than Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to withstand a hotter climate.
Speaking to Harpers about the effects of climate change, CIVB vice president Allan Sichel outlined a clear vision for adapting the region to change.
“We need to adapt the vineyard to a makeup more suited to warmer temperatures - new grape varieties that will maintain the Bordeaux style of wine, based on fruit quality and harmony and structure and balance,” said Sichel.
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