Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Bordeaux Harvest 2016

The grape harvest is in full flow at the moment here in Bordeaux.
It is always an exciting, busy and quite nerve racking time for everyone involved in grape growing and wine production. The fruits of a year's work will soon be established. It will be a great relief as 2016 has not been the easiest growing season in France. There has been hail in parts of the Languedoc (near Montpellier) recently and Burgundy seems to have had all sorts of frost and hail in May....which is very late, which has severely effected the quantity and quality of grapes.
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes ripening at Chateau Lafite Rothschild

But Bordeaux is currently enjoying some lovely weather. We had a wet and damp April, May and early June and then a decent warm Summer. And early Autumn has been very warm with consistent high temperatures.

Manual sorting at Chateau Haut Bailly. What music are they listening to?
Grape bunches being manually sorted at Chateau Pontet Canet

The only negative for Bordeaux during the Summer has been the lack of water.....grape growers are never happy! But this Summer has been very dry, which has effected the foliage and photosynthesis on some of the younger vines. The older vines with more established roots on gravel soils seem to have flourished far better, as well as the older vines on the cooler limestone soils around Saint Emilion. Most of the merlot grapes have been picked already in the Medoc and the grapes seem quite small with thick skins. Perhaps a tannic concentrated wine for 2016.
The Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes are now being picked over the next two weeks. It is a delightful time to visit the Chateaux and smell the juice and see so much activity taking place. Bella Wine Tours continues to run some great tours throughout the year.
Biodynamic grapes gradually ripening at Chateau Pontet Canet

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