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Bordeaux harvest enters final phase

The Bordeaux harvest on the Right and Left Banks is entering its final few weeks.

The good weather conditions have meant chateaux have been largely able to pick according to their terroir and style, rather than because of pressing weather concerns.

Chateau Haut Bailly in Pessac Leognan expects to bring in its last Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at the end of this week.

‘We were planning to wait a little longer, but the Cabernets are tasting so good that we decided to bring them in,’ director Veronique Sanders told Decanter.com.

Chateau Pavie in Saint Emilion began picking last Thursday, 7 October, and expects to finish within the next two weeks.

Chateau Pichon Comtesse de Lalande in Pauillac began the Merlot on 22 September and the Cabernet Sauvignon on 4 October, and will continue until mid to late October.

Jean-Philippe Delmas at Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau La Mission Haut Brion told Decanter.com that they were finishing up their Cabernet Sauvignon this week, and while it was still too early to talk about the reds, he was very confident with the whites.

‘The white grapes look to be even better than last year, as the fresh nights have meant perfect acidity levels.’

The weather in September, according to John Salvi, author of The Bordeaux Weather Report, recorded 243 hours and 13 minutes of sunshine against the 1991-2010 average of 182 hours and 49 minutes.

The total rainfall was just 23.8mm on 11 days as opposed to the 1920-2010 average of 90.3mm.

Overall, according to figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture, the expected 2010 harvest in France is thought to be 45.8m hectolitres. One month ago it was thought to be 47.2 million hectolitres, but the dry weather has reduced volumes.

The Bordeaux region is expected to come in at around average for the past five years – around 6 million hectolitres.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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