Chateau Bauduc – harvesting in the dark, with pics

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night-harvest-5-of-31Another weekly update on what’s happening at Bauduc doesn’t really rank up there with Bake Off and Brangelina but we thought we’d keep you up to date with our harvest news and the latest photo album.

After last week’s hand picking, this was ’harvesting in the dark’ week. There are a few reasons for picking Sauvignon Blanc by machine before dawn. Firstly, the grapes and the juice come in nice and chilly, with less risk of oxidation. Secondly, the other chateaux who hire our man Guy and his machines rarely start before 8am, so we can usually make up our minds about what to harvest at the last minute. (Guy, you see, is from the Charente and he’s that rare sort of Frenchman who wants to bill for as many hours as possible.) Keep reading

Bordeaux 2016 – refreshment at last

This Bordeaux 2016 vintage update was published on JancisRobinson.com and on Livex, the fine wine exchange.

It’s five weeks since my mid-August report on Bordeaux 2016’s glorious Summer, so here’s an update on how things are shaping up for the harvest. The white harvest is already well under way as we await the Merlots and Cabernets.

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Merlot vines in Saint-Emilion, 7 September 2016

The ’glorious summer’ continued, in fact, for four more weeks until the night of 13 September. It had proved to be exceptionally dry. For the 12 weeks from 23 June (that infamous date seems a long time ago now), many areas of Bordeaux saw only a tenth of the 30-year average rainfall: St-Emilion, Sauternes, Margaux and parts of the Entre Deux Mers had around just 14mm compared to the average of 140mm. Even Blaye, which registered more rain than most, had only 30mm in those 12 weeks – less than a quarter of the norm. It was also hot for long stretches, but as you can see from the chart below, the night-time temperatures were not unbearably high, and the switch between cooler nights and daytime heat was beneficial for the vines. Keep reading

Bone dry since Brexit – August review

We’ve had an extraordinary Summer. It’s been sunny and hot at times, especially in mid-July and the second half of August – it’s 30°C as we write this and took the photo this morning – but it has been incredibly dry.

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Bordeaux 2016’s glorious Summer

I put together this Bordeaux 2016 vintage update for JancisRobinson.com and for Livex, the fine wine exchange.

It’s been exceptionally dry during the holidays, with plenty of sunshine around Bordeaux. Most tourists have been on the beach, relaxing by the pool, strolling around markets or spending time in the city of Bordeaux itself. Those with an interest in wine might have visited the new Cité du Vin, which opened in June, or taken a trip out to Saint-Emilion.

Margaux, Palmer and Pavie in the shade of the Merlot at Chateau Bauduc, 16 August 2016

Margaux, Palmer and Pavie in the shade of the Merlot at Chateau Bauduc, 16 August 2016

Those who have ventured out into the vineyards – beyond the refreshingly cool barrel cellars – might have seen how dry the ground looks. The parched grass verges contrast starkly with the lush green rows of vines, which are, for the most part, in remarkably rude health. As you’d imagine, young vines with shallow roots on dry soils suffer when there’s no rain but, overall, the vines are coping well, especially given the heat over the French holiday this last weekend with temperatures consistently reaching 33°C or more.

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