The 1970 Forecast
International Herald Tribune
September 11, 1970
Predicting how a vintage will turn out has a lot in common with betting the horses. There is no winner until he has been announced and there is no wine until it has been made. But with the Beaujolais grape harvest less than two weeks distant, it seems safe enough, with the usual hedges, to make a few predictions about the 1970 wines.
The outlook is good. The crop is abundant and, barring incessant rain, will be of good quality. According to official sources at the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine, it is certain that the wine will be very pleasant.
In July, the outlook was for a very great year, but August was not sunny enough. The wine will be high in alcoholic content, even higher than in '69, but it will lack acidity. This means that, as in '64, it will be a little too round, lacking a bit in the sort of distinction that immediately sets off a Beaune from a Pommard.
One of the best things about the 1970 vintage is that it should bring prices back down from the high-flying orbit that the '69 vintage with its exceptional quality and small quantity put them into. And the 1970 wines should also be ready early, which will permit rapid replenishing of depleted stocks.
Here is a run-down of the prospects for the various regions:
- Burgundy – Very large quantity as everywhere. While 1970 will not be a famous year but only a good one in the Côte d'Or, it will be very good indeed in Chablis, irreproachable in character and rich in fragrance.
- Bordeaux – Huge quantity and better quality than in '69, although lacking somewhat in acidity. As in Burgundy, the harvest should begin late in September.
- Champagne – The quantity will be bigger than the demand, a rarity in recent years, and it will be a vintage year. Stocks are being depleted too rapidly and 1970 should permit catching up.
- Alsace – Good quantity and quality. Prices are unlikely to go either up or down.
- Loire Valley – As in Chablis the wines should be excellent, the epitome of what made them famous. In Muscadet there are large stocks and with this year's bumper crop prices should drop distinctly.
- Rhône Valley – For the first time in two years there is more than average quantity to satisfy a rising demand for Côtes du Rhône, which are beginning to compete with Beaujolais now that it has become so expensive. The quality should be very good.
- Midi – This is the mass-production area of the French vineyard and, taken for what it is, it should be sensationally good this year.