The B-word we’re limiting ourselves to this month is B for Bordeaux 2016. It’s a terrific vintage that the trade and press are about to taste in situ, and our fascinating analysis of how the weather made it is linked to below. What made 2016 particularly unusual was that many French regions were far less fortunate for both quantity and quality.
We’re delighted and a little relieved that the bottling of our 2016 whites and rosé seemed to pass by without a hitch and that the wines are now live on our website for UK delivery at an introductory price.
It’s been a tough month to stay off the booze. Angela nearly made it all the way through Dry January but succumbed with just a few days to go. At least from now on it won’t mean a whole bottle between one. (Thank heavens for screwcaps.)
We hope you’re well and looking forward to Christmas (already?!). We’ve held off putting up our UK prices until now, so do make the most of the current rates before 16 December.
Looking through the comments left by our charming guests in the visitors’ book this year (the last lot have only just left), the phrase that sticks out is ’another wonderful week’ and, for first timers, ’a wonderful week’. See below for more. Keep reading
A long and satisfying harvest and, when we factor in both quality and quantity, our best yet. It’s the first time in 18 harvests that we’ve hit the maximum quota that we’re allowed to make for white and also now for red, and volumes are well up on previous years.
An extraordinary growing season and a terrific harvest. Fortune has smiled on us this year and we’re all the more grateful considering the difficulties facing many growers elsewhere in France. The tanks above shows the lottery of growing grapes. Normally, we make roughly the equivalent of three of our 20,000 litre blending tanks of white wine. In 2013, after a 10-minute August hailstorm, we made just one. This year, touch wood, we’ll fill almost five. As our biggest selling white – our straight Sauvignon Blanc – sold out within a few months, that’s welcome news. Keep reading
The harvest was completed at Bauduc last Friday, 21st October. We picked the remaining block of Cabernet Sauvignon by hand, just as we did when Rick Stein came to film the opening episode of his Long Weekends series for the BBC a year ago. (Where does the time go?)
It’s been a long harvest in 2016 and strange to think that the first rows we picked – also by hand – were the 10-year old Semillon vines for our sparkling cremant in the next door field as far back as the 12th September. (Funny, that seems like an age ago.) Keep reading
We harvested the Merlots, mostly by machine, during the week of 10th October. The grapes looked terrific and one advantage of bringing them in cold by machine at the crack of dawn, is putting them into a chilled stainless steel tank for a cold soak for a few days before starting the fermentation.
Some of the great chateaux we most admire, such as l’Evangile in Pomerol, Smith Haut Lafitte in Pessac-Leognan and Malescot St-Exupery in Margaux, also like to do a pre-fermentation ’cold maceration’. Their pickers snip the bunches into crates during the day and the winery staff drive the pallets of crates into a chiller room, usually overnight, before de-stemming and sorting the bunches and transferring the grapes – cold – into tanks the following day. Keep reading
We picked all our Merlot this week, so we’ve just got our Cabernet to go and that’ll be that. More on the red harvest at Bauduc in next week’s missive, suffice to say that we’ve been lucky with the weather. It’s been dry and sunny until yesterday afternoon, which is good for bringing in the grapes and, of course, for taking photos. It’s also unusual to have all the children at home at this time of year, so it’s only fair that we put together a gratuitous family album. Keep reading