The vineyards are once again busy with workers removing leaves and excess bunches of grapes (or part bunches). Now the school and work ‘rentrée’ is in sight (next week) an anticyclone has finally arrived. The long-awaited sunshine is here and predicted to stay until 10th September now at least. But there is a lot of catching up to do;July was the wettest since 1959 and August over all of France has had 50% more rain than in an average year. We have had the coolest August since the start of the century.
Due to the high pressure of mildew this year, foilage in some vineyards looks more autumnal than normal at this stage with some browning of leaves. These leaves will not be doing the photosynthesis necessary to keep feeding the plant and ripening the grapes to enable a late harvest (if nature allows that is).
Foilage at biodynamic Château Pontet Canet (who spray with a concoction of herbal teas and minute doses of copper sulphate) seem to have the right recipe as the foilage on their vines are beautiful and green and mildew stain clear!
Most are talking of a harvest rather like last year, in precipitation at the beginning of October before the rot sets in (has already arrived particularly where vines have not had their leaves removed and in large bunches (hence the thinning of bunches but care needs to be taken to not damage any of the remaining grapes).
The concentration of a very good year will not happen in 2014 as there has been too much water and the water tables are full.
There is still much hope and the cool night températures are helping to build a wonderful Spectrum of aromas in the grapes.Fingers crossed for an Indian Summer though that will stretch beyond mid September.