Philip Blanc, General Manager at Beychevelle 4th Growth St Julien
Today the fruit produced in Bordeaux is different to say ten or so years ago. Winemaking has not changed that much recently but the fruit that is harvested is much riper today with both good levels of sugar and tannin ripeness (polyphenols). This is due to practices in the vineyard such as leaf pulling (so sun has direct access to the grapes reducing levels of the vegetal methoxypyrazines), bunch thinning (so sugars go into fewer grapes and for better aeration in the bunches to preclude rot), reduced yields (by short pruning in February/March) and with global warming. Today better Cabernet Sauvignons are being produced with ripe tannins. Merlot has a tendancy to have high alcohol levels and with warmer weather can easily become over alcoholic.