The school holidays have started in France and those that holiday in July known as the ‘juilletistes’ are on the roads heading for their holiday destinations. Temperatures soared on Saturday one of the busiest on the roads in the French calender, but the day ended in torrential downpours for most.
For the past few weeks temperatures have been relatively cool with frequent showers (according to Château Mangot, St Emilion 440mm since beginning of the year). Over this past weekend 35 mm of rain was recorded at Château Béard la Chapelle in St Laurent des Combes.
The grape bunches are busy forming, the berries growing in size until they touch, called ‘la fermeture de la grappe’ (the closing of the grape bunch). Quantities are not large, many bunches have suffered from millerandage due to the rain during flowering which causes the small green grapes to stop developing. The problem is that they do not fall off the bunches (unlike coulure) which causes problems at sorting at harvest as these need to be removed to avoid them going into the vats and giving a green flavour to the wine. The good thing about this is that it performs a natural green harvesting and concentrates the grapes. See photo above.