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Bordeaux Right Bank ‘another 83’ as vintage draws to a close

The Right Bank harvest in Bordeaux is drawing to a close this week, with most of the Merlots now picked, and the Cabernet due to be finished early next week.

In Pomerol, most grapes are now in. Chateau La Conseillante finished on Tuesday 7 October, with Le Pin finishing on Wednesday 8 October and Petrus on 12 October.

On the Left Bank, Chateau Mouton Rothschild finished on 13 October.

Mathieu Cuvelier, of Clos Fouret in Saint Emilion, who is due to finish on Monday of next week, told decanter.com, ‘We are all happy with the maturity that the grapes have now reached, and the fact that we could wait so long to harvest. Alcohol levels in St Emilion are easily reaching 13.5 degrees.’

Petrus owner Christian Moueix – who manages a clutch of other chateaux including Magdelaine in St-Emilion, Lagrange, Latour a Pomerol, La Fleur Petrus, Trotanoy and Lafleur Gazin – finished in Pomerol last week and Saint Emilion this week.

He said, ‘The grapes have a concentration that I haven’t seen for years. Our yield is very low – between 20 and 25 hl/h – because we thinned out the clusters so much over the summer. In terms of quality, it reminds me of 1983 with a beautiful late season.’

The first two weeks of October have been largely dry and sunny, continuing a good spell of weather that began on September 10. According to Meteo France, temperatures rose up to 26 degrees on October 12, with an average for the first two weeks of nearly 15 degrees.

Rain began again yesterday, and more is due next week, explaining the rush to get grapes in before the weekend.

David Pernet at Sovivan, an oenologist group that consults all over Bordeaux, explained that generally alcohol and acidity levels are high, with the threat of rot being the greatest danger to taste profiles if vineyards were not carefully looked after.

‘2008 is proof that you need to hold your nerve until the very end’.

Written by Jane Anson

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