South of France swelters
18 Aug 2009 by Jancis Robinson
Yesterday was so hot we had to head for the sea. Today is even hotter. I can't remember such a long period of hot weather here in the Languedoc before or since 2003 - although the temperatures are perhaps slightly less punishing than in 2003, and the vines look remarkably healthy after their cold winter and good dose of spring rains. But the grapes are ripening very fast - one nearby grower reported Chardonnay with a potential alcohol of 12% already last week.  The French grape harvest started in Roussillon, as usual, but as early as 11 Aug this year.  I would expect most French wine regions to be anticipating an early harvest...

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