a very hot August has marked its path through the vineyards, resulting in some blocked ripening here and there. In this situation, the vines need moisture to continue the ripening of their tannins - stalks, stems, pips can vary between green and yellow, and this makes life difficult for a grower to press the harvest button. Thunderstorms have occurred, but are very localised. Patrick Coste of Domaine Le Pointu at Châteauneuf-du-Pape related how in late August the north of the town of Orange was temporarily flooded after a thunderstorm, while his domaine, just south of Orange, received no rain. The first picking of white grapes and those intended for rosé has started. See Goings-On for the latest news.
Taken as a whole, the outlook is bright in both the Northern and the Southern Rhône, but rain would help to bring balance to the vintage - otherwise the spectre of firm tannins arises.
Recent Additions: most of the 2007 Northern Rhône vintage report has been completed - see the sidebar 2007 Northern Rhône. Domaines added at Châteauneuf-du-Pape include Roger Sabon, Moulin-Tacussel, Lou Fréjau, de l`Harmas, Panisse, Vieux Lazaret and a handful of fairly recent start-ups - La Ferme du Mont, Bouvachon-Nominé, Le Pointu. At the Massif d`Uchaux, the interesting Château d`Hugues, run by the exotic character Bernard Pradier, is also included.