Bordeaux 2012; grapes ripen in the autumn sunshine, still some way to go

The grapes are sweet and aromatic, the skins still tough and green tasting and the pips still green and unripe. So far the grapes are in good healthy state.

The 2012 is late compared to last year, the weather is sunny and set to continue for the time being. The grape bunches look good with some yield losses from mildew earlier in the season – this results in some small shrivelled dry grapes which will not affect quality. Predicted yields are said to be down but did not see that on my vineyard visits this morning in St Emilion.

The time has come to start the count-down to harvest. Producers are readying their cellars and equipment, tramping through their different vineyard plots to get a feel for the ripeness levels, which plots to harvest first if and when the weather turns and the dreaded rot sets in……..The most impatient are seen with their little plastic bags of grapes (taken from all over a particular plot to give a good representation). Several of these analysis will take place before the actual picking ocurrs, giving producers a scientific analysis to back their hunches in the field which involves much grape tasting. The sweetness, potential alcohol level, malic acid, total acid….are measured.

Lets just hope that the weather holds. The later the better to compensate for the differing ripeness levels in the same plot (due to rain at flowering).

So far it is only the young plants on Pomerol’s gravel soils that have been harvested due to their suffering from lack of water.

Some reds for rosé have begun to be harvested across Bordeaux and the whites too are underway.

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