White: Grateful for Small Merci’s

It’s the latest harvest for the sauvignon blanc that I can recall, although we did start with that parcel of early-maturing young vines – the plot we now call Dagueneau – on 17th September. The fruit is in lovely condition, and we’re able to machine pick it early in the morning as we have ditched any rot damaged bunches by hand. The fine weather over the last last fortnight has given us the chance to pass by every single white vine to check for rot. Not one of our neighbours is anywhere near as anal.

Shame about the tiny yields. These bunches look great and plentiful but on some vines there are a just a couple. If that. This is mainly down to the damage caused by April frosts, although the warm February completely confused the vines.

We’ll average at around 25hl/ha for the white. This is peanuts: the limit that we are allowed to produce in Bordeaux is 60hl/ha. Ten years ago, in 1998, they produced even more than that at Bauduc, but then again, it wasn’t the house white at Ramsay’s or a special selection at Rick Stein’s. Meanwhile, with your average, irrigated Vins de Pays vineyard in France, the yield would be far higher. 90hl/ha? 

But at least we should be thankful for the quality. And, in future, we’ll have many more young sauvignon blanc vines coming into production.

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