Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.


As soon as I’d posted my last blog I realised that I’d probably need to qualify it almost immediately. The July rains did not make all the berries swell in the vineyards of  South West France as I discovered when I saw Pierre Carle yesterday at his Chateau le Chabrier in Saussignac. On the almost bare limestone, cultivated organically, the bunches were tight and grapes small. He told me that at the other organic property he manages: Croque Michotte (Saint Emilion) the berries are also small, with a high proportion of skin to pulp. Acid levels are dropping alarmingly quickly, but sugar levels have not gone through the roof. Harvest will probably begin early next month.

If the weather is not too hot (and it very well might be) harvest is due begin at 7am tomorrow on Henri Jammet’s amazing high-density (10,000 plants per hectare) vineyard at Saint Sornin in eastern Charentes.  I’ll be joining the team picking Chardonnay – the grapes tasted utterly delicious on Friday.

To be continued …

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