Is Sauternes the place to be in 2013?
I’ve been travelling around Bordeaux a bit recently and the vines are looking better in Sauternes than elsewhere.
The first two photos below show a typical Sauvignon bunch at Château Guiraud in Sauternes and a typical Sémillon bunch at Château de Myrat in Barsac. Contrast these healthy grapes with the final photo of some typical Merlot in the Médoc!
The Sauternes grapes have just finished véraison so we are still very late, but the regularly hot July and August have caught the 5 week lateness up to about 3. The foliage looks great, there is an abundance of bunches and grapes (unlike in the reds where coulure was heavy), absolutely no damaged grapes from disease or hail of which there has been none in Sauternes (unlike the poor growers in Entre-Deux-Mares and Castillon where 37,000 hectares were hit at the start of August), almost no mildew browning of leaves – all looks absolutely perfect!
The only problem is the lateness (occasioned by the cold and rainy spring), which means we will have to get to concentration then botrytisation between now and late October, always dodgy but absolutely possible. If the current 15° at night, 25-28° daytime temperatures keep up, and if we get a little shower or two to get things going over the next few weeks, I (and others I have talked to) would say Sauternes will benefit more than all the other Bordeaux regions, where things are in much worse state.
Fingers crossed! Bill Blatch