Thursday, 11 October 2012

Bordeaux Harvest 2012

Ripe grapes ready to be picked at Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste
The 120 pickers gather at Chateau Margaux for their instructions.
Horses being used to transfer empty crates at Chateau Pontet Canet
First sorting table (whole bunches) at Pontet Canet

Second sorting table at Pontet Canet (individual berry selection)

The 2012 grape harvest has started in Bordeaux. The growing season has been slightly topsy turvy! There was extreme cold during the winter of 2011/12, which is normally absolutely no problem when the vine is dormant. But in Pomerol it reached -16 degrees celsius for a few days and the vines suffered.

Spring was wet and gave the vines enough water to keep alive.
 The crucial flowering time at the end of May/beginning of June was very protracted due to uneven weather. The merlot vines seemed to have suffered more from coulure, which is a result of uneven flowering. The resulting bunches have become uneven and straggly.

The usual problem of mildew seemed to arrive with avengeance in 2012, due to the humidity of the Bordeaux area. Therefore Copper Sulphate was sprayed on non organic vines to prevent further outbreaks.  Some yields will be significantly lower due to problems of mildew.

Then the summer weather was full of peaks and troughs! There were spikes of extreme heat (as much as 40 degrees) as well as some rain and humid weather.
The end of August and beginning of September have been hot and dry.
Now as the grapes are ready to be harvested we have had some rain, so sorting and selection will be crucial for the berries.
I have been visiting the vineyards throughout the year and especially over July, August and September, when the grapes are changing colour and ripening.
Everything is looking OK now. Many Chateaux started to pick last week and surprisingly the Medoc (left bank = more Cabernet) is being harvested in some cases before the right bank (mainly merlot).

I'll be back in the vines next week, when I shall report back further.
Delicious aromatic grape juice during a pump over at Chateau Beychevelle. (I wish you could smell this!)

I had lunch with Philippe Blanc (MD of Chateau Beychevelle). He had started picking young merlot vines early last week, and then he had he will restart this week.

The crucial time will be post fermentation when we can taste the wine!

The magnificent Chateau Beychevelle. in Saint Julien.

The gardens are always colourful at Beychevelle.

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