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Wasteful Water

mid June 2011

here have been pockets of rain here and there in the Rhône in the first two weeks of June; Cornas had 50 mm (2 in) in a storm, which, according to Anne Colombo was "a bit wasteful", since a lot of the water rushed away. "We are at least two weeks ahead of usual," she added, saying that "it is still extremely dry in the subsoil, and I have noted growth slowing recently." At Crozes-Hermitage, however, the same rainfall only produced 6 mm (0.2 in) at Gervans and Mercurol in the northern zone there. In the South, there has been hail in the Northern sector of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, on the route to Orange.  "We had some hail at Château Rayas," Emmanuel Reynaud told me, "but the leaves are still hard and green, which helped. The vineyard is very pretty for now, with long, magnificent bunches. Remember that Gobelet (stand-alone vines) also protects the vines more than wire-training."

For a series of new postings, including 2009 Gigondas and a series of domaines across Cairanne, Rasteau, Plan de Dieu and Côtes-du-Rhône, please go to Goings-On in the left-hand column. It is a mixture of known and below the radar domaines.


early June 2011

the theme of an early harvest continues, although growers were delighted by a fall of around one inch of rain (25-28 mm) around Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the third week of May. Crop sizes are large for now, so a balanced, copious vintage now depends on when the rain falls - mid-July and mid-August, with a smattering in June will be ideal - and how much of it falls - not too much at a time. Flowering has gone extremely well this year, both in North and South, and the threat of late frost has passed. Powdery mildew, the curse of the very damp 2008, is not on the scene.

I have just returned from an extraordinary week of dinners with Marcel Guigal and Pierre Perrin of Château de Beaucastel on two atolls on the Maldives, the beautiful low-lying islands south-west of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. The tasting notes on the Beaucastel wines have been loaded, and a report on those Beaucastel tastings and dinners has been posted under the subtitle Indian Ocean Beaucastel under Recent Tastings. The wines tasted: Roussanne VV 2009, 2008, Hommage Jacques Perrin 2007, 2001, 2000, Cru de Coudoulet 2003 red, and Beaucastel red 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 1998, 1990.