Every year on the 23rd May, I take a photo of the Merlot vines outside the château and each picture tells a story. From the hailstorm in May in 2009, to the early harvest in 2011 and 2017, the grotty start to the growing season in 2013 and the normal, good years like 2016. Here are some of those photos.
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
February is bottling month at Château Bauduc for the previous vintage’s whites and rosé. It’s the culmination of 16 months’ work when you take into account the pruning of the vines the winter before. It’s yet another time when we’re nervous about the weather – in previous years the machine has frozen up – but we were lucky this time. We bottled our 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Les Trois Hectares Blanc and our Rosé. 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