What can we say at this early date?
- Very late harvest started around start October for many
- Yields down but not as low as predicted, about same as last year
- Good healthy state of Merlot grapes harvested during first two weeks of October (wetter weather following) (bad news for Sauternes as no botrytis then). Producers have had to hurry the last of the harvest employuing more pickers with the arrival of the wetter Autumn weather
- Dry conditions during the summer caused the ‘hydric stress’ meant that juice is concentrated and alcohol levels relatively high (around 13°)
- Juice is very dark and aromatic with intense black fruit of blackberry, blackcurrant
- Good balanced acidity levels which give freshness due to cold nights from late harvest
- Increased disease pressure this year of Mildew which reduced yields slightly but wher controlled not reduced quality. Has made it an expensive vintage with more spraying of Sulphates during the year
- Main problem is the lack of uniform ripening (due to rain at flowering) so gentle extraction of skins and removal of pips (many unripe) necessary during delestage (see previous blog). Very important decision of when to stop maceration.
- Other main problem due to the late harvest is the lack of ripeness of the Cabernets and the pressure of increased rot from the wet Autumn conditions. Some Cabernets still to come in.
Last Trailer of Grapes (in the past decorated with a bouquet of flowers, the ‘gerbe’ of the harvest party the ‘gerbebaude’!