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Bordeaux whites begin picking soon

The first Bordeaux whites will begin being collected this week in Pessac Leognan and Entre deux Mers.

A spokesman for Despagne Family vineyards in Entre deux Mers told decanter.com that they will begin harvesting their Sauvignon Blanc grapes for Chateau Tour de Mirambeau early next week.

‘These vines are planted to 10,000 feet per hectare, meaning smaller berries and earlier ripening. Our whites are looking very good, as they do better in cooler summers, but we don’t feel so confident with the reds.’

A cool wet summer has meant that mildew has been felt throughout the region’s vineyards – with organic producers being hardest hit, some losing up to 90% of their crop.

But for the majority of winemakers, the mildew threat has been contained through expensive and regular treatments and very close green harvesting, meaning that the main effect will be on the volumes, expected to be significantly lower overall than in both 2006 and 2005.

An April that was the hottest for 30 years has so far been the highlight of the vintage, allowing an early and even flowering that carried most vines through to a good, even fruit set, but there has been little to be optimistic about since.

The quality of the reds depends on the weather over the next month: the Merlot harvest is expected to begin in mid-September. At the moment the biggest threat is the acute risk of rot from from the continuing rain.

Gavin Quinney at Chateau Bauduc, also in Entre deux Mers, said, ‘This year it’s that old chestnut of diligent, ambitious and hard-working chateaux – at every level – having to put the work in for their vines to be great shape, as in 01, 02 and 04. In Saint Emilion, the difference in the state of the vines from one block to another is remarkable.’

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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