Veraison is a great time to get a mid-harvest update from the Chateaux, to get a feel for how the weather has been and how things are going. Keep in mind that the next 8-10 weeks are critical, and no matter how good or bad the weather has been so far in the season, things can still change dramatically. That being said, it is still nice to gain insight into what the winemakers are thinking. I hope this will be report 1 of 2 -- I am waiting on some additional responses.
According to Claire Casimir at Chateau Palmer in Margaux:
We have seen on the parcel near the first year cellar the veraison (colour change marking the beginning of the fruit ripening stage) . As soon as my cluster test will change I will publish the photos.
The weather is quite exceptional since 1 month and you know how July is important in term of polyphenol. So it is promising currently but we never know what will be the weather by the beginning of the harvest!
Basile Tesseron from Chateau Lafon-Rochet in Saint Estephe sees a divided crop:
So far, it looks good. We tend to think that there won't be much to harvest on the merlot side due to a high percentage of "millerendage" (berries shot), it has unfortunately been rainning on the wrong days during spring time. On the other hnd, thanks god, the cabernet are quite nice. It may not be the vintage of the century but if the weather keeps on going this way, we would end with a quite decent production. But harvest time is quite far...
Everyone's favorite, Aline Baly from Chateau Coutet is extremely optimistic:
The first step to a successful harvest are conditions that result in ripe and luscious fruit. After a cold winter and a long spring with weather that varied quite a bit, we were blessed with ideal climatic conditions for July to be one step closer to that optimal result.
According to the France Meteo, France experienced hot and dry conditions for the first two weeks of the month that were unseen since 1976. In Barsac, these conditions translated in fabulous conditions for the vignes; the vignes were forced to work for their nutrients which will result in complexity -- but they were not stressed thanks to some showers mid-month.
Days away from August, the vineyard is very homogeneous and showing great promise. The weather predictions for the next tens days look very favorable. We are cautiously optimistic for the 2010 but one must remember that the second step to a fabulous harvest for our appellation will be the development of Botrytis cinerea (Noble Rot) with the presence of morning mist in September. Anything can happen to our berries from now until the moment they end up in the barrels...but so far so good!
As always, I will keep you all updated as I learn more about conditions.