Cruel Summer 2019 – Red Bordeaux

As the the Banarama girls said, ‘its been a cruel summer…’ with some really hot spells up to 40°C (like 1990 and 2003) heatwave in June and July but overall they were shortlived and the vines did not seem to suffer too much (even the young ones that dont have the deep roots). Soon this vintage will be judged in the futures tastings (first week April) and we will find out the verdict. Here is a quick recap of the climatic conditions and from what I have tasted of the 2019 so far….

Sylvie Lescure photo on instagram

It did however cause some blocking of the ripening process in the autumn particularly with vines in sandy soil and little organic matter where the water is able to pass through quickly.

2019 Merlot grapes
Château Béard la Chapelle, St Emilion Grand Cru

2019 shows us how perhaps harvests will be in the future with global warming. It resembled more of a year in the south of France as in Languedoc Roussillon or even the Southern Hemisphere.

The year however started with a cold and wet spring which caused coulure and millerandage at flowering which complicated harvest and meant that there was not uniform ripening (2019 is good but not excellent). Due to the full water tables overall there was only a 10% deficit of water compared with normal years. This helped the vines make the switch from vegetative growth to concentrating the sugar in its grapes.

So healthy grapes were picked with little fungal disase during the year in comparison to 2018 (when many producers suffered badly from mildew). Fortunately there was a good rainfall mid september and just before harvest that enabled the vines to cross the finishing line with good ripe though smaller grapes than normal that were not too raisin-like (lowered yields). High levels of alcohol but in fact there is a good acidity and aromatic potential to the flavours but there is for some reason a lack of colour in the reds and structure in comparison to 2018.

Merlots were harvested relatively early mid to end of September (up to 9 Oct in the Medoc) and Cabernets 25 to 15 october.

The futures will take place during the first week of April and I will revert then with my findings!


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