As we finish the third week of hot sunshine with daily temperatures of 30°C, electrical storms and heavy rain have arrived in the Bordeaux wine region with some hail in lower St Emilion.
Ideally the grapes would have a week or two more sunshine. The very sunny weather since the beginning of September has driven sugar levels up considerably in the grapes. Now we are looking for some concentration particularly in the Merlot as the grapes are large and juicy due to the abundant rain this summer. Yields look good for the first time in three years.There will be a lot of rosé produced in 2014 as winemakers will try to conentrate the juice by removing a quantity early on in the process from the vats (saigné).
Many producers in the Haut Médoc, Pomerol and the warmer areas of S Emilion such as Figeac will start to harvest the young Merlot plants next week (Tuesday 24th September). Any storms put ‘a stick in the spokes’ of idealistic plans but after today (forecasted as cloudy,rainy and warm) we will see what the impact is. Sun is continued to return tomorrow and until 28th September so fingers crossed tis will be a good year (not a great as the concentration due to the wet weather is not yet there). Ripeness levels are getting there with potential alcohols reported around 13° already. Acidity is still slightly too high. Due to the cold spring last year, the grapes produced more pips than normal, two or three per grape. These will take longer to ripen and turn brown. Having more grapes in the bunches alos makes it harder for the vine to ripen (particularly when leaves are brown from mildew!)
Grapes that have been affected by the hail have had their skins split which attracts rot which in this balmy weather will quickly spread.