This post also appears on JancisRobinson.com and on Liv-ex, the fine wine market website.
I’ll keep the football analogies to a minimum but the end of the month in which France won the World Cup seems an appropriate moment to reflect on the pluses and minuses of the season so far. For wine growers, or viticulteurs, the business end of the season will soon be upon us.
Following on from a wet winter and a thoroughly damp spring, the start of the summer has been dry and hot. In fact, of the last 44 days, 22 have seen temperatures over 30°C around Bordeaux, with another 14 days over 28°C. July itself has been the third hottest in France since 1947, still behind 2006 and 1983 but knocking 2015 into fourth spot. Keep reading
A memorable month with friends, family, football and glorious weather. And, for some of us, Love Island. We’ve also had a record number of visitors to the château to taste and even to buy our wine, and there seems to have been no let-up in the number of online orders in the UK, which is great.
We hope you’re enjoying the sunshine. As we’ve discovered of late, it is most definitely rosé weather.
Normally we’d be a bit miserable with these seasonal showers (above) yet we are delighted to report that there has been no repeat of the late spring frost that half-trashed our vines at the end of April last year. Once the risk of ‘les Saints des Glaces’ have passed by around the middle of May, we’ll only have to stress about the weather for a further five months.
March has been a bit mad. Our spirits have been tested in this last, thoroughly sodden week, but no doubt the Easter bunny will bring us all good cheer as spring approaches. Funnily enough, Good Friday is not a public holiday in France.
A cold February has been good news for us as the vines have had a decent winter break, and we’ve been able to prune them without the imminent risk of the sap rising prematurely. We have, pretty much, just the young plantations to go now. We’re also relieved that we decided to delay the bottling of our 2017 whites and rosé until March, thus avoiding the freezing temperatures.
Here’s a suggestion if your other half is off the booze, or if you’re on your own at home and you want to enjoy a bottle of decent wine over two nights. Most of us don’t keep a supply of wine in half bottles, and that’s if you can find them. So you simply pour half the contents of a full bottle into a half bottle and seal the latter with the cork you’ve just pulled – at the start of the evening, not at the end. That’s the important bit.
I’ve had plenty of practice at this during during January over several years. This works primarily for full bottles sealed with a cork – there’s no need to do this with our screw-capped white, for example, as that will stay pretty fresh in the fridge for a few days once opened, with the cap back on.
September is usually quite full-on, what with the start of the harvest and a new school year, but the 2017 edition has been bonkers. Not only have we completed the white harvest – which would normally be the case – but, as with the rest of Bordeaux this year, the reds are almost all in too. We’ve also hosted so many events at Bauduc we’ve had to recruit a live-in chef – what we’d have done without Elly, Lord knows. Keep reading
We were delighted that our Bauduc blanc was selected by Victoria Moore for her white Wine of the Week in her Saturday column for The Telegraph (12 August 2017).
“Chateau Bauduc Sauvignon Blanc 2016. 12%. www.bauduc.com. £11.
Englishman Gavin Quinney makes this sauvignon blanc at his estate 15 miles from Bordeaux and it’s lovely – no wonder it’s been the house white at Rick Stein’s for years. Bright but gentle, crisp and modern but not pithy, just fresh with a lemon, elderflower and yellow nectarine taste. Class act.”
July has been a weird month, with mixed weather and a great deal of work in the vineyard. Despite the late Spring frost and cool July, the grapes are already well on the way to changing colour: the veraison, as it’s called, normally doesn’t take place until August and it’s on course to be the earliest harvest of the last ten years, 2011 apart. Yet there’s a long way to go.
We had two short breaks away in July, so apart from an important family get-together near Ypres this coming weekend, we will be here for much of August. We’ll be posting pictures of grapes, vines and various animals on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – see the links below.