The harvesting of red grapes in Bordeaux has begun with the top châteaux unfazed by worries of over production.
In St Emilion and Graves the picking has started, or is likely start over the next few days. The early-ripening Merlot grapes in St Emilion and Pomerol are already being brought in by pickers at Château Pétrus, Cheval-Blanc and Figeac.
‘The grapes are looking good,’ said a spokeswoman for Château Figeac.
Others in the region are biding their time and fears over inclement weather have been put aside with weather reports indicating a sunny weekend.
‘We are waiting until the end of the week,’ Château Ausone owner Alain Vauthier told decanter.com, ‘next week we’ll be picking for sure, and so will everyone else.’
At first-growth Château Haut-Brion, in the warmer Graves region, the red grapes began being harvested on 16 September and the last bunches of Cabernet Sauvignon should come in on Monday.
Although those in the Médoc are still waiting for the Cabernet Sauvignon to reach perfect ripeness, the concensus is that next week will see secateurs out across Bordeaux.
‘We are still waiting but we should begin picking the Cabernet Sauvignon by the end of the week,’ said a spokeswoman at Château Mouton-Rothschild.
Despite regional fears of over-production, nearly all the top châteaux performed a green harvest earlier in the year. Thus production levels for the big names should be kept down.
‘We have a normal situation this year and we are delighted by the quality of the grapes. They are showing intense colour and compared to last year alcohol should be down by nearly 1 degree,’ said Vauthier.
Written by Oliver Styles