Amazing flourescent colour of the wine this year and the wonderful aromas of raspberry. More like a sweet factory than a winery! Alcohol levels around 13.5°C, acidity levels correct, seemingly good colour so far. The key is not to extract the unripe elements from the skins and pips. The success of 2012 comes down to the winemaker’s decision of when to pick and his or her talents and sensitivity in the chai during the cuvaison!
The incredibly dry conditions this summer has meant that the grapes are in very good condition in the vineyards. Wine producers are taking it very slowly this year to maximise ripeness due to the lack of uniformity of ripeness in the vineyard plots (caused way back in June during the rainy flowering).
The effect of the rainfall last week seems to have only given the parched vines a good drink and has not effected the concentration of the grapes. Much appreciated by the vines who need to keep going late into these warm autumn conditions – 28° yesterday. Their leaves are beginning to turn autumnal.
There are 4 pumping over of the juice to extract the colour and tannins per day. Once the fermentation gets underway one of these is done into a basin to expose the juice/wine to oxygen which the yeasts need. Once the juice is in the vats analysis is done of the juice.
These same dry conditions has meant that the botrytis (feared by dry wine producers) needed to produce the sweet white wines has been very late in coming this year. Apparently teams of 150 pickers are on stand-by at Yquem. The rain of last week has helped and the autumn morning fogs. The sunshine yesterday and today burns through the fogs and concentrates the sugars in the grapes. So conditions are improving for them but the lack of botrytis so far causes questions if this will be a good Sauterne/Barsac year. If there is not much botrytis the concentration is done by ‘paserillage’ a sweetening due to loss of water, not due to the botrytis fungus which transforms the sugar into a myriad of flavours.