As with other northern wine producers, the heat wave of 2003 was very good news in the Loire with wines which are much riper than usual.
After a fine star in early spring, the weather dropped to sub-zero temperatures in mid-April, causing some frost damage to the vines. Warm weather returned again and flowering was completed early, before the beginning of June. A huge temperature drop at the end of June and a hurricane on 15th July caused further problems and crop thinning. The heat-wave of August followed with grapes suffering from both drought and sunburn, before some welcome late rains returned in late August and early September to ensure that healthy and very ripe grapes were harvested.
There are very good results in all areas, the reds are particularly fine. There are a few problems in the more continental climate area of the central vineyards (Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé etc.) where some of the Sauvignon Blancs are a little out of balance because of the high alcohol levels achieved this year, but the best producers were able to overcome this by picking early.