The RSJ is not known for paying too much attention to Bordeaux. However spending last weekend with friends in Pauillac did give me a chance to have a look at how the grapes are looking towards the end of August. Unfortunately vintages throughout France are often judged as good or bad by what happens in Bordeaux. Crazy, of course, but true!
This is the third successive year that I have spent the weekend around the 20th-22nd in Pauillac. There is absolutely no doubt that the grapes are looking far better at this stage than they have in the previous two vintages with ripening further advanced and more even than in 2008 and 2007. Much can still go wrong – three weeks of continuous rain, for example. We are now getting to the 'squeaky bum' stage of the vintage year in the memorable words of Sir Alex Ferguson when talking about the finale to the football league season. So close and yet so far if the weather turns against you. However if the weather holds up, it is reasonable to think that there is the prospect of a very good vintage in the Médoc in 2009.
19th August 2007: uneven ripening at Château Lynch-Bages
In 2007 the grapes were well behind and ripening at an uneven rate – a mix of green and black grapes. What a contrast to 2009 where it has recently been hot and dry. In 2008 at this time the vineyards were saturated with water like an enormous sponge!