The 2012 harvest for the reds is now under way in the Medoc and looks to be one of the latest vintages on record. Some have only just begun the Cabernet Sauvignon when often it is all finished by this time.
In Margaux, Chateau Palmer began the Merlot on 1st October and Rauzan Segla on 3rd. Here bunches and berries were small but after a hot and dry August and much of September, but John Kolasa reports that sugar levels are good with 14 degrees of potential alcohol. They began the Cabernet Sauvignon on Sunday 14th, crossing fingers against the threat of rain.
From uneven fruitset, late flowering and extreme heat, it has been a complicated year in the vineyard. Ripeness varies from plot to plot, from vine to vine and even within the individual bunches, demanding careful sorting to remove undeveloped green berries and unripe grapes. Two things are clear even at this early stage: it will be a very small crop, and the top estates have the advantage.