As requested, here are more details of the growing season in the south of France. (See Comments on Schildknecht's comments on his German tour 2005 for a wealth of detail on this year's summer in Germany.)
The long-awaited Languedoc downpour last week reported here seems to have heralded a period of much cooler, more changeable weather and we had the most spectacular thunderstorm the night before last, 17 aug. Very well-behaved, it waited until we'd finished dinner outside before laying on a memorable display of lightning and a centimetre or so of rain – nothing like as much as the week before.
While no conventional vignerons seem at all ready to pick, biodynamic Gérard Gauby at Calce in the Roussillon began his white wine harvest on a week ago yesterday on 11 aug and I saw some beautifully ripe, healthy Syrah being sorted last Tuesday morning, 16 aug, the first day of his red wine harvest. Sorting was hardly necessary, I may say, the grapes were in such perfect condition. I shall be writing more about how he now manages to produce wines chock full flavour but at relatively low alcohol levels, having seen the light a few years back and converted his vineyards accordingly.