The team at Hubert de Bouard's Ch d'Angélus in St-Émilion have sent out a very gung ho report on the 2010 vintage today. (The picture of him was taken in London in 2008 at a Masters of Wine event.) They say the main characteristics of the vintage are:
'2010 is a dry year, but in contrast to the 2003 vintage there was no heatwave. These weather conditions encouraged ideal vine health and the vines suffered no illnesses this year.
'Although it was feared a lack of water would affect the vine, beneficial rain at the beginning of September fell just at the right moment to boost the metabolic process. The grapes can therefore continue slow maturation to reach optimal ripeness.
'Sunny days alternating with cool nights are allowing polyphenols to ripen perfectly. The grape berries, rather small with lovely skins, promise excellent concentration. Superb balance between sugar and acidity will give freshness and elegance and enable these wines to age well.
'Even at this stage, all these conditions allow us to predict a magnificent vintage and the highest hopes are once again permitted!
'Final preparations before the harvest begins are well underway. At Château Angélus, wine-producing machinery suppliers and various craftsmen are coming one after another to the estate and conferring with the production teams. Final preparations are going smoothly just before this year's harvest, which is due to begin around 28 September.
'This year, the entire procedure for receiving the harvest is once again rethought and priority is given to the very latest technological progress.
'On arrival at the cellar, the grape bunches will be sorted and then sent into one of the latest generation of de-stemming machines. The berries will then be passed through an optical sorting machine and the finishing touches can be given to all these stages on an final manual sorting table.
'Manual de-stemming will be also be applied (for four or five vats), employing approximately 150 people to ensure that the best care is given to handling the grapes.'
Meanwhile in Burgundy, Romain Taupenot of Dom Taupenot-Merme in Morey-St-Denis reported slightly less ebulliently earlier today, 'we started harvesting on yesterday with Corton and the maturity is very good – 13.7% potential alcohol with ripe tannins from the seeds and good acidity (I am waiting for the rest of the parameters). The crop is quite healthy despite the recent rainfall and the yields are below average due to the blossom [poor flowering] and the fact we have got lots of millerandage [shot berries] - probably even more than in 2009. Weather forecasts are crucial at the moment…'