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Bordeaux finally receives rainfall

Much-needed rain arrived in Bordeaux this week, although winemakers played down its importance to the 2010 harvest.

(picture and video: Panos Kakaviatos)

Around 25mm fell across much of the Medoc, and between 15mm and 35mm fell in Saint Emilion and Pomerol.

In Margaux, 6mm fell on Monday night, 8mm on Tuesday and 23mm on Wednesday, Bernard de Laage de Meux at Chateau Palmer told Decanter.com.

On the Right Bank, Petrus oenologist Olivier Berrouet said 25mm had fallen since Monday, which had been very beneficial.

‘The vines had started to suffer from lack of water, but we can now wait comfortably until full phenolic ripeness has been reached.’

Meantime, winemaking director Philippe Dhalluin at Chateau Mouton-Rothschild said only 6mm of rain had fallen by Tuesday, but he has not been too concerned about the lack of water.

He said there were ‘hardly any yellow leaves’ on two-year-old vines on the grand plateau where both Lafite and Mouton Rothschild vines are planted.

Oenologist Denis Dubourdieu was equally unconvinced by the need for rain.

‘Happily, the rain that fell this week has not changed the vintage. I am not of the opinion that rain is necessary – classic vintages in Bordeaux have always been dry.

‘The problem in 2003 was the heat, and the humidity, which is utterly unlike the usual Bordeaux season. But show me a dry year, with reasonable heat, that has not been of very good quality.’

He compared the whites to a 1998, and the reds so far to 2005 or 2009.

‘We can make an educated guess about the quality of the reds, but the whites are already in the tank, and we know how good they are.’

Consultant Eric Boissenot felt it was not only the rain, but its quality that was important. ‘We had no hail, or any violent rainstorms. It was not enough for dilution, but plentiful enough to sink into the very dry ground.

‘At this stage, when tasting the berries, they seem easily of the quality of 2009, and the forecast for the next week is good.’

Written by Jane Anson and Panos Kakaviatos in Bordeaux

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