Vintage of Bordeaux 2013 might vary in terms of quality but is not as huge a disaster as it has been portrayed, said the president of a body representing top producers on Wednesday.
Heavy rains during the critical spring flowering season and, for some producers, during the harvest made life tough for winemakers but Olivier Bernard said quality would vary from property to property.
"It is no worse and no better than 2011 and 2012," said Bernard, the president of the Union of Bordeaux grand cru producers (UGCB). "Not everyone had equal success, 'uneven' would be the best word to describe it."
Concern over the quality of the grapes at their disposal has led one prominent property, the cru bourgeois ChÔteau Malescasse, to decide not to release any wine this year. They declared the vintage as "deficient, with no ageing potential and at times mediocre."
But Bernard denounced that decision as a PR stunt by a property which, as a cru bourgeois, is officially ranked lower down the Bordeaux hierarchy than the UGCB members but, in practice, enjoys a better reputation and commands higher prices than many of them.
"You don't use the entire 2013 vintage for your own promotion," Bernard said. "Those who are not going to be able to make good wines this year are not grand cru producers."
Bernard said consumers could look forward to price cuts of 20 to 30 percent on the top Bordeaux properties but advised them to do their research carefully.
"There are people who had 30 mm or rain at the end of August and others less than five km away who had 5 mm. That's how it works.
"In 2009 and 2010 we had two outstanding vintages and mother nature has come back to remind us of her strength in the last three years."
The Bordeaux region had 1.60 m of rainfall in the 15 months up to the 2013 harvest, twice as much as normal.