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The harvest 2018: Good, but not easy everywhere

It has been a hot summer in France, but the growing conditions have not been easy everywhere. Alban Rabasa, assistant winemaker at Château Vaudieu in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, says that 2018 is une année du vigneron, which means that the wine maker’s skill may determine the quality of the wine. “With a lot of rain in the spring, mildiou attacks and some grey rot we will have to work hard in the cellar,” he says. Bernard Duseigneur at Domaine Duseigneur, who makes wine in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and in Lirac, also tells us about the huge amounts of rain they have had this year. “In 2017 we had 300 mm; in 2018 we have had 1700 mm!” But it looks good now. Already on September 6, when we visited Bernard, he told us about Syrah grapes that had already reached 14% potential alcohol strength.

Bordeaux also had a rainy spring and early summer. “We have had enough rain to manage now for two years,” said Fabrice Bacquey, winemaker at Château Phélan Ségur in Saint-Estèphe. From mid-June, the heat and the sun appeared, but the moisture brought problems with mildiou and other fungal diseases. It was important to manage the diseases correctly and now that the harvest is underway – Phelan Ségur began to harvest on September 24 – the team is optimistic. “We have nice grapes, it will be a good vintage,” says Fabrice.

This weather pattern was similar in many parts of France: a sunny and hot summer that promises good quality but sometimes problems with mildiou due to a wet April and May.

Chateau Phelan Segur in the Medoc, Bordeaux

Chateau Phelan Segur in the Medoc, Bordeaux, copyright BKWine Photography

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