Philippe Bru

2017 Harvest in Provence and Southern Rhône: Early and Small but with Great Expectations

If you live in the South of France, you would have to be living a cave not to know that the 2017 harvest was historically early and small. I was in Provence during harvest time – la vendange, in French – and heard directly from winemakers about their concerns for the future but also about their optimism that Mother Nature who, despite dealing drought conditions in some areas and severe frost in others, operates in cycles.

“It used to be that grapes were picked in mid-September,” said Romain Ott, great, great grandson of pioneer winemaker Marcel Ott and, today, the winemaker at Château Léoube, a sprawling estate located on the Mediterranean coast (next to Clos Mireille, one of Marcel Ott’s original three properties). “I never got to participate [in the harvest] because I had gone back to school,” Ott said.

“Now, we are finished by then,” he added.    “This year, our harvest began on August 17th,” Ott told me when I visited Château Léoube at the end of August.  He estimated the harvest would be complete on the 8th of September.  “Five years ago, the harvest began the last week in August,” he
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April Frost Damages 25% of Château Vignelaure Vineyard

“We are lucky the damage was not worse,” Philippe Bru, Directeur Œnologue of Château Vignelaure, said of the April 29th frost that hit his vineyard, located in Rians, just north of Aix-en-Provence. “I hear that the Center of the Var was hit much worse, especially around Correns.”
That devastating frost, considered the most destructive since
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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WINE WRITER: VINISUD 2017

Just over two weeks ago, my husband and I landed in Paris Charles de Gaulle airport where we hopped aboard a TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse or, in English, France’s high-speed train) that sped south to France's eighth largest city
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CHÂTEAU VIGNELAURE: “THE” RED IN PROVENCE BEFORE TRÉVALLON CAME ALONG…IS BACK!

In 1987, in his introduction to Provence wines in The Wines of the Rhône Valley and Provence, legendary wine critic Robert Parker described the newly created Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence appellation in four sentences
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Château Vignelaure Rosés Coming to a Store Nearer to You this Spring

One of the unfortunate consequences of reporting on the wines from Provence is that so many of the delicious wines we enjoy while in Provence are not available in the U.S. We have been known to leave our running shoes in France to free up precious
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