The 2011 harvest is underway in Bordeaux with preeminent Sauternes chateau, Chateau d'Yquem and renowned rosé producer Chateau de Sours picking the first grapes.
The harvest has come usually early, as predicted, and temperatures are set to exceed 35°C this week, advancing ripening further still.
Sweet wine specialist Yquem told decanter.com it had picked the Sauvignon Blanc for its dry white ‘Y’ while de Sours is harvesting Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for its sparkling rosé.
Martin Krajewski, owner of Chateau de Sours told decanter.com, ‘In my eight years here, the earliest we have ever picked is 4 September. We are at least 18 days ahead of anything I have experienced.’
Forecasters are anticipating temperatures in the mid 30s for the rest of the week and, Krajewski explained, ‘This means the fruit will be pumping up in alcohol. For our reds at Clos Cantenac [St Emilion] we are already looking at 11.25 degrees alcohol and we don’t really want that to go beyond 13-13.5 degrees but with no change in the weather, it may go as high as 14.
‘We expect to be finished by the first week of September at de Sours and we will have finished the reds at Clos Cantenac by 14 September. Last year, we were still harvesting at the end of September, and in 2009 the first week of October,’ he added.
Written by Rebecca Gibb