For this month’s review we thought we’d update you on how the vines are shaping up. Before doing so, fans of our white should be aware that we’ve had to restrict any orders now to just 12 bottles of our delicious Sauvignon Blanc 2015. As reported last month, we’re running very low. There’s still a fair amount of our equally delicious 2015 rosé though, despite Rick Stein’s lovely restaurants piling through masses of it.
Back to the vines. It’s been a difficult season for many growers across France, and the months of April, May and June were relatively cool and damp here in Bordeaux as well. So it’s with great relief and no little surprise that we can report that the bunches at Bauduc have rarely looked healthier or more plentiful.
A very dry and sunny July has certainly helped but as we approach the third anniversary of a nasty hailstorm that trashed our vineyard in the space of a few minutes on 2 August 2013, we’ve learnt not to take anything for granted.
You may have seen that several French wine regions to the north and east of us are having a tough year. A late April frost in Burgundy, Champagne and the Loire severely reduced the crop there, and hail storms have caused misery for many vignerons in Chablis and Beaujolais. Hail can strike at any time and only last weekend 1500 hectares in nearby Charente, where they grow grapes to make Cognac, were badly hit.
What makes this grape-growing game so bizarre, with the calamities elsewhere in mind, is seeing the crop-thinning taking place around Bordeaux right now. That’s the so-called green harvest – notably on the Merlot – whereby chateaux lop off and dump any excess bunches from the vines (above). The theory, before the grapes change colour and with two months to go before the harvest proper, is that the bunches which are left on the vine will ripen better. Many customers might recall Oz Clarke and James May taking part in our green harvest exactly ten years ago. Whether their intervention made any difference to the quality of the wine is debatable.