Summer 2013 Sauternes News

I’m back from Summer in the High Sierras and on my return the first thing I did was to nip down to Sauternes to see how things are getting on.

With all the July heat and drought, the vines are looking great:  so much winter and spring rainfall has kept the soil cool so there has been absolutely no hydric stress.  During July we have caught up half of the end June 1 month lateness, so, if the weather stays as it is (moderate sub-30 deg heat with fortnightly non-violent rainfall), we could be in for a great 10th Oct harvest….but the early season problems are still untamed, and if we get humid conditions over the next month (unlikely by my best-of-5 met stations), the grey rot may spread.

Of course the awful conditions at flowering (especially the Tuesday of Vinexpo) have caused widespread coulure (shatter) and millerandage (aborted grapes) but not nearly as bad as on the Merlots.  This photo shows the most millerandé bunch I could find.   Most are much better than this, and anyway it’s of no importance because Sauternes picks grapes not bunches!

At this stage, and subject to substantial revision from the next 30 days events, we should have a small, late but exceptional vintage in Sauternes if the concentration period goes well (we are in aoutement now with veraison about to start).  Fingers crossed.

For those who have looked carefully  after their vines, and if someone up there likes us over the next 2 months, we have a shot at the big one.  Sauternes toujours Sauternes!  Bill Blatch

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