This may not have been the most sweltering summer in southern France but the harvest is well underway, with generally much healthier grapes than last year's oidium-plagued crop, even if quantities are expected to be a bit less than usual thanks to the general lack of rainfall. The lack of serious heat spikes has meant steady ripening without awkward periods with the vines shut down and photosynthesis stops. The plants still look green and lively.
Grapes have been harvested from the second week of August in Roussillon and some Languedoc whites have already been picked. Acids, sugars and ripeness of phenolics are all promising for a year that some think could be as outstanding as 2001.
See purple pages for news from the Douro Valley in Portugal, Rioja in Spain, other Spanish wine regions, and more here in fine wine news on the south of France.
Even as far away as Washington state, the harvest is early with some Sauvignon ready to be picked now.