It seems that September could be the saviour of the 2007 harvest in Bordeaux, even though it has traditionally been said that it is August that determines the quality of the must or grape juice. According to Olivier Bernard of Domaine de Chevalier in Pessac-Léognan, this is not the first time that September has come to the rescue, 'although not usually with such intensity. Indeed, in living memory we've rarely had such perfect weather conditions to save the vintage'.
Many observers have been rather gloomy after such a wet August but it appears that the weather is certainly looking up for growers. Since the end of August they have had:
- maximum sunshine
- north to north-easterly winds, light to moderate and therefore very dry (maintaining the health of the vines and keeping rot at bay)
- cold temperatures at night (10 to 13°C)
- temperatures that remain moderate during the day (24 to 26°C)
- sunny days alternating with cool nights, which should promote ripe tannins in the reds and generally fresh acidity without overly high sugar levels
As far as dry whites are concerned, a good deal of the harvest is already gathered in and the grapes are showing natural alcohol levels of around 13% or higher, balanced by lovely fresh acidity (pH levels of 3.1 to 3.2 in the case of Domaine de Chevalier, for example). This augurs very well for fresh fruit flavours and good ageing potential.
Even with these very good conditions in the first half of September, it is still too early to make assumptions about the reds but the Merlots are getting close to ideal maturity and the weather conditions described above are perfect for the last stages of ripening the Cabernets. It all depends on these next three weeks.