13 aug: And this from Graham Nutter of Ch St Jacques d'Albas in the Minervois: Rain at last? Just to let you know that we had 33mm of rain Wednesday night of 10 aug and another 17 mm the Thursday 11 aug morning. More than enough to keep us going to the harvest (15-20mm would probably have been enough). No hail [which has hit some Languedoc properties this year] - and the rain was pretty regular, thus giving the ground a good soak without much run off.
12 aug: Just received the following update on Bordeaux precipitation from Jean-Michel Cazes of Ch Lynch Bages, Médoc veteran: We had an excellent rain two weeks ago but it rained significantly only in the northern Médoc (north of Margaux - St Julien, Pauillac and St Estèphe received most of it). It came at the perfect time and you can now tell the difference just by looking at the vines. Curiously, vegetation is about on time, while I would have thought it would be more advanced because of the quite warm weather we've had since beginning of July. By and large, it looks really well at this time, but we are still 5 to 6 weeks more or less before harvesting and anything can happen.
You asked for updates on the 2005 growing season's weather in southern France. I can report that after prolonged and really quite serious drought (see Summer 2005 in southern France), we've had an extremely useful dousing here in the last few hours. In fact it felt as though all the rainfall expected for the last couple of months fell this morning (11 aug - Nick back in London enjoying the sun) here in the Languedoc and it looks as though the front has moved all the way across southern France east of here which will delight the farmers. (It's funny to spend most of the year in London, groaning when there's yet another downpour or drizzly day, but here to be surrounded by people for whom every drop of summer rain represents a little bit more income when the grapes are weighed at the local co-op.)
Bordeaux, despite predictions to the contrary, didn't benefit from this particular little freshen up however - although see Jean Michel Cazes' report above.
Mind you, I'm sure some of you are wondering why on earth we should care about the 2005 weather when the French are finding it so difficult to sell their previous vintages...